By Kieran K. Meadows
Veteran 42nd Precinct Officer Tony Panos and his partner, Officer Greg Zukoff, agreed it was an unusual morning Wednesday as they patrolled the Morrisania section of the South Bronx. They handled only one call – or “job” – a landlord-tenant dispute at the beginning of their shift in sector “Henry,” the eighth sector in the precinct. Since that call: nothing. Officer Panos admitted the morning shift was usually a little slower, but he was still surprised by the lack of calls.
“I haven’t seen it like this in a long time,” he said. “We can’t even back someone up. This is unusually quiet today,” he said. To illustrate his point, he mentioned there was at least one major gun job per day.
Officer Panos, 38, clean-shaven with greased jet-black hair combed and parted on his right, crossed one leg over the other. He looked like he was sitting in a porch chair rather than the front passenger seat of a police squad car.
Since 1990, Officer Panos and Officer Zukoff have patrolled the hilly Morrisania in the South Bronx. They have witnessed dramatic changes over that period. Morrisania is still considered a high-crime area but crime is down over 65 percent in the neighborhood since the early 1990s. Back then it looked like rubble or a war zone, they said. Vacant overgrown lots, burnt-out buildings and abandoned cars on every block have now been replaced by numerous private and public developments. Continue reading