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New York Has 77 Police Precincts. Why Do Their Numbers Go Higher?
There are 77 police precincts in New York City. How then can there be precincts with numbers 109 (Flushing) and higher? Why don’t the precinct numbers end with 77?
“The simple answer as to why precinct numbers go higher than the actual number of precincts is that the numbering system was designed to provide for future expansion,” said Bruno Seliste, a police historian who operates the website PoliceNY.
From 1898, when New York consolidated into its present form, to 1929, the numbers of the combined precincts shifted quite a bit, although the basic allocation of numbers was, Manhattan, one to 39; the Bronx, 40 to 59; Brooklyn, 60 to 99; Queens, 100 to 119; and Staten Island, 120 and up.
Mr. Seliste wrote in an email: “Not all precinct numbers were used in each borough, probably to leave room for new precincts. Although precincts have been added over the years, many have been abolished and merged with neighboring ones.”
Notable precinct number changes over the years have included the elimination of the 74th Precinct in Brooklyn, which covered only Prospect Park and Brooklyn Botanic Garden (both are now covered by the 78th Precinct).
According to the New York Police Department’s public information office, the current breakdown has Manhattan with precincts that use numbers in the one-to-34 grouping; the Bronx, 40 to 52; Brooklyn, 60 to 94; Queens, 100 to 115; and Staten Island, 120 to 123.
And not all precincts have numbers: The 22nd Precinct is now the Central Park Precinct; the 14th Precinct is now Midtown South; and the 18th Precinct is now Midtown North.
Finally, some trivia: “For TV and movie productions, nonexistent precinct numbers are usually used, such as the 12th and 27th Precinct,” Mr. Seliste wrote. “For example, the 1960s TV show ‘Naked City’ used the 65th Precinct, which would have been out of place for the series’s Manhattan locale.”
“There has not been a 65th Precinct since 1929,” he added, “although if had existed during the run of ‘Naked City,’ it would have been in Brooklyn.”
A 1960s comedy, “Car 54, Where Are You?” was based out of the fictional 53rd Precinct.
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