At last night’s 84th Precinct Community Council meeting, Precinct Commander Capt. Sergio Centa gave an overview of crime statistics and trends year-to-date in the area. Note that these stats are for the entire 84th Precinct area, not just Brooklyn Heights.
There have been no murders in 2015. Rapes, however, are up by fifty percent over the same period in 2014. Capt. Centa noted that the majority of these have not been stranger-on-stranger rapes but rather among people who knew each other before the crime was committed. Some involved sex with those considered too young to give consent. If reassuring from the point of view of someone walking home alone late at night, this is still a very disturbing statistic. Robbery and burglary are each down by twenty percent. Felony assault is up considerably. Capt. Centa said this is almost entirely attributable to the re-population of the Brooklyn House of Detention, and consists of inmate-on-inmate assaults.
The biggest problem areas, Capt. Centa said, have been in the area of non-violent property crimes. Grand Larceny is up considerably. Much of this–31 incidents–is attributable to theft of unattended property–backpacks and the like left on the sidelines while owners play sports–in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Other sources of GL are Citibikes (yes, they get stolen), identity theft, and shoplifting. Capt. Centa noted that there are now more upscale stores in the 84th Precinct area, and this has attracted more thieves. Grand Larceny Auto is also up, with over half of the stolen vehicles being motorcycles. See below for how two brave and lucky cops put an end to the career of one motorcycle thief.
There were many questions from the audience. One concerned the 84th’s response to the gunfire in Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park last summer and the later looting of a deli on Joralemon Street. Capt. Centa said he had responded by asking for additional officers to be assigned; this request was denied, although he was given authority to have extra overtime on weekends. (Neither the shooting nor the looting happened on a weekend, but rather on a weekday afternoon or early evening.) He is trying to do with what he has, including assigning a mini patrol vehicle to an officer in the park so as to allow quick response throughout the Park’s lengthy area.
There were many suggestions about how to avoid theft of packages left outside doors when the recipients aren’t home. Some audience members noted that some big delivery services like UPS now allow delivery to your local store of theirs (UPS is on Montague between Clinton and Henry) or to local shops.
Another question, from the mother of an M.S.8 student, concerned the lack of crossing guards. Capt. Centa said he did not think this was a budgetary problem, but instead one of recruitment. He encouraged everyone to try to get more people to apply for crossing guard jobs.
There was one question about a topic that has come up on BHB, that of the small group of homeless men who have taken up residence at Joralemon and Court streets. Capt. Cento wasn’t aware of this, and said the men would be given appropriate attention.
Saving the best for last, there was the Cop of the Month Award, This time it went to two partners, Officers Alex Guess and Gustavo Jaramillo. In the photo above, Community Council Chair Leslie Lewis is at right, then officer Alex Guess, then officer Gustavo Jaramillo, then Officer Jaramillo’s wife, with Capt. Centa in the background. Officers Guess and Jaramillo were jointly awarded as Cops of the Month for having spotted a stolen motorcycle with the thief riding, then blocking the thief’s way, which caused him to dismount and run down Gold Street directly toward the precinct house. A quick radio call from our heroes in hot pursuit summoned a phalanx of cops to block his way and arrest him. In custody, he confessed to four other motorcycle thefts, and received a scolding phone call from his mother.
On a sad note, Capt. Cento noted that there will be an unveiling ceremony for plaques memorializing slain officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos will be held on December 21, the anniversary of their deaths. A plaque memorializing Officer Alain Schaberger will be unveiled on March 13, 2016, the fifth anniversary of his death.
There will be no 84th Precinct Community Council meeting in December; the next will be on the third Tuesday in January, which is January 19, 2016. Mark your calendars.
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