Signs for precincts a sound idea
Mar 20, 2012 | 12421 views | 0 0 comments | 360 360 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A group of Queens and Brooklyn politicians last week called on the Department of Transportation to install signs that point the way to hard-to-find police precincts, especially in high-crime areas.

This is a move that makes complete sense.

Not all police precincts are located in high-traffic areas, and many are located on side streets and can be hard to locate. Likewise, many police precincts are in fairly nondescript buildings with little to no signage outside. Often, the only tell-tale signifier of a police precinct is the fleet of cop cars parked on the street.

There have been many times that we have been driving or walking in a neighborhood we thought we were familiar with, only to be surprised to come upon a police precinct that we have passed several times, but never noticed.

Simply posting signs to help people find police precincts seems like a low-cost measure to help insure public safety.

As we travel around Queens and Brooklyn, we have noticed a lot of antiquated signage, including old signs that mark hurricane evacuation routes to others that point the way to a Lutheran church, neither of which we're sure are still up to date or current.

As DOT updates signs across the city, part of the process should include installing markers that point the way to the nearest police precinct.

The elected officials called on DOT to place a higher priority on high-crime areas, but there is no reason that precinct signs shouldn't be installed across the five boroughs, regardless of the crime rates.

The intent of new signs would be to help victims of crime or people in distress find their way to a police precinct if there is one nearby, but these signs could also have an unintended consequence. A gentle reminder to someone about to commit a petty crime that there is a police precinct just blocks away could actually deter crime.

Obviously, a criminal intent on committing murder or some other violent felony isn't going to be persuaded not to because of a sign advertising a nearby precinct, but a vandal about to spray paint a tag on a garage door or damage a block of cars might be dissuaded.

DOT would be wise to implement this small, but worthwhile, suggestion.
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