The 84th Precinct Community Council met yesterday evening at Brooklyn Law School. The meeting was chaired by Council President Leslie Lewis (seated at right in photo). The Precinct Commander, Deputy Inspector Mark DiPaolo (at podium in photo), gave a rundown on recent crime statistics in the precinct. Crime overall, he said, is down ten per cent this year. There has been one murder so far, that of Police Officer Alain Schaberger. DiPaolo thanked the community for the sympathy given to the Precinct personnel and to P.O. Schaberger’s family after this tragic loss.
Some crimes, DiPaolo noted, were increasing in number and frequency. The “big uptick,” he said, is in grand larceny. This falls into two categories: from the person, which is usually the taking by force of a hand-held electronic device, typically on the subway while the train is in the station and the doors are about to close; and robbery of unattended property, such as from gym lockers (can you say “Planet Fitness”?), schools, or bags and such left hanging on chairs in places like Starbucks while the owner is not looking. He mentioned the rash of burglaries in the Heights in early march, and noted that these had stopped after notices were sent out warning people to secure doors and windows. He also said one suspect had been identified.
Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, asked what progress had been made concerning the break-in and theft at Jack the Horse Tavern. DiPaolo said he couldn’t discuss this now, but that the investigation is ongoing.
BHB contributor Peter Kaufman asked about police cars parking in bicycle lanes. DiPaolo said that police cars are subject to the same parking regulations as civilian vehicles, and noted that he had to move his own car quickly twice to avoid its being towed. He said, however, there is a problem in downtown Brooklyn, with its proximity to the courts, because the volume of arrests means officers must make frequent court appearances. Because of the scarcity of legal parking spaces, police sometimes felt forced to park illegally. He also said that, if a cop needed to stop to perform a duty such as making an arrest, he or she might be forced to park temporarily in an illegal spot.
Kaufman then mentioned the number of cars that had parked illegally near Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral on Sunday. He also said many cars had parked partially on the sidewalks, and that this could damage the sidewalks. DiPaolo said he thought there might have been a special event at the Cathedral on that day. He also noted that the Cathedral had received several summonses, and that parking on sidewalks was definitely a concern. DiPaolo noted the earlier problems concerning First Presbyterian on Henry Street near Clark, and asked Kaufman if the situation had improved there. Kaufman said it was “too soon to tell.” DiPaolo concluded by saying that, traditionally, “a certain tolerance has been given to church areas.”
Another audience member asked about bikes running red lights. DiPaolo said that the police were “doing more safety enforcement” but that they “can’t be everywhere.” He also said he believed that “education and tolerance” could be more effective than “writing summonses.”