Every new New York City police officer will be sent to the streets of some of the toughest neighborhoods as part of an operation that officials say has helped produce historic drops in crime, reports the New York Times. Each of the 914 police recruits being sworn in today will join Operation Impact. Officials said crime in almost every major category declined again this year, with violence down in the schools and on the subways and homicides on track to fall below 500 for the first time since reliable statistics became available 44 years ago.
Because some areas, mostly in Brooklyn, report stubbornly higher crime rates, they will get a bigger influx of Operation Impact officers, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. Operation Impact, begun in 2003, matches new recruits with seasoned officers and supervisors to tackle crime spikes in narrowly drawn geographic areas. Coming as the police department is facing recruitment challenges, the new influx will double, to more than 1,800, the number of officers assigned to those duties in a force with 35,400 members. Dennis Smith, a professor at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and an author of an analysis of Operation Impact, hailed the new emphasis on the program as a “targeted use of scarce resources.”