84th Precinct Community Council Meeting Discusses Burglaries, Bike Lanes

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.”

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  • Jeffrey J Smith

    It was great to see an increase in Heights residents however small
    at the meeting

  • Jeffrey J Smith

    The main presentation of the evening was two officers displaying the new technology to identify those arrested waiting to be seen
    by a justice. The identification is done by iris scans of the eyes.
    The various aspects of the technology and the objections by the ACLU and some defense councils was noted. The Council
    president Leslie Lewis in response to some of the voiced reservation said that New yorkers are often against everything
    or a comment very similar.

    In response several persons noted possible valid objections. One
    attendee, myself, noted that response to theis new technology is part of increasing, well justified, public questioning of increasinglt invasive technology. The term “Technology creep” was mentioned
    the mayor’s strong support of face recognition technology was cited. Police being able to scan and download smart phones from thier patrol cars, as is being done currently in Austin Texas and elsewhere areincidents which have led to strong public question
    ing of electronic searches, ofter without warrents.

    In other news, Inspector DiPaolo responding to questions about
    the Jack breaki n stated that the matter is still under
    investigation…but some of the findings are “troubling” to police.

    The MAJOR subject of financing of future community council
    meeeting was brought by President Lewis. The head of the council stated they are in need of private donors, perhaps a foundation?

    Inspector DiPoalo brought up that the council will begin an E-mail blast to area organizations as to the datre and location of the next meeting

  • Jeffrey J Smith

    In the past the general subject of council financing has come up.
    The council members are usually very resistant to detail first,
    how muych public fnds are used forthe council and under what programs. Second, how much privat funding may be involved.
    At one time minutes and some financial information was read at meetings. No more.

    The state of finances came up in years past when questions were asked how the meetings were being announced to the community, given the ofter sparse attendence during a time of mounting violent crime. The response was that most of the funds were
    expended for mailings. Upon being pressed, it appeared that the mailings which they said was costly, consisted of sending to names regardless of thier attendence. There appeared from statement made to be no or little review of the names being mailed to. The list appeared, from what was disclosed, to be little “combed” for inactive names.

    How could mailings to low or fully nonresponsive names yield attendence? It was very had to get any kind of a clear response.

    Whatever is now said by the council and thier supporters,
    the 84 Pct meetings ALWAYS draws between 20 to 30 persons. Many of these are people who generally attend every meeting
    “the regulars” The rest tend to be people complaining about a current condition. They are usually assured that something will be done about their complaints and almost 100% they are never seen again.

    Thus, the way the couicil is apparently run, the lack of effective outreach to the community insures that a predictable group of persons will always predominate at the meetings.

    There are very very few fresh people who come …and stay. The meeting are simply not configured to attract new attendees and to hold them. some of this are the time demands of modern life. But much of this also is are people who come to feel decouraged and
    quietly leave.

    Inpector DiPoalo is a major asset to the community. His announce
    ment of an E-mail blast to community organizations is a good step. But one person at the meeting opined that the E-mail blast should be directed to recent attendees and written to strongly encourage further attendence. A second person hearing this further opined that E-mails should be sent to all recent CRIME VICTIMS in the area..

    Given the amount of data mining now being done both by the
    City, State and federal governments this would be easy to do…

  • AmyinBH

    [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.”]

    Well, tolerance is not going to pay for the medical bills when a pedestrian is run over by a cyclist.

  • Wrennie

    Tolerance, perhaps not, but education, yes. Last weekend I saw several tourists on rental bikes riding on the sidewalk down Pierrepont, against traffic. I also see food delivery guys on bikes going the wrong way down one-way streets, and riding on sidewalks too.

    What people fail to realize is that bicyclists must follow the same rules as do cars. Their idiocy drives me nuts. I’m a cyclist (the spandex-wearing athletic kind) and am tired of all these crack-downs that are effecting us, who abide by laws, instead of these freaking idiots who are ruining it. Learn how to follow proper rules, jerks!

    As far as pedestrians being run over–sometimes it can be the pedestrian’s fault. Pedestrians also apparently don’t know that bikes have to act as cars, and don’t realize that some bikes are moving just as fast–don’t walk in front of us if you don’t have the right of way!

  • dimitri

    when can i find out where the meetings are being held the website of the 84th isn’t providing any information