NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - A growing number of communities throughout New York City are being protected in a new way, with neighborhood policing. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that is not a makeover of community policing from the past, but a bold step forward in tune with the times.
The 9th Precinct on East 5th Street is now part of the 51 percent majority in all five boroughs implementing neighborhood policing. It divides precincts into four sectors. Each sector has NCOs -- or neighborhood coordination officers -- who have the same beat and same shift every day. Commissioner James O'Neill said this is about improving connections and crime fighting.
O'Neill, who started as a beat officer and worked his way up through the ranks, believes that if police and the people know each other, there will be more mutual respect and greater safety for everyone.
Some longtime residents here are already noticing the difference. Others are taking a "wait and see" attitude.
Police say oftentimes the sheer volume of emergency calls they have to answer prevents them from taking time to get to know the community. With the potential for police-community tensions high in the country, the mayor says this approach will bring lasting results in New York.
A later phase of the plan will involve community satisfaction surveys, where residents will be able to comment on their officers.
Officers will get their say too in their own evaluations.