Centa Promises Increased Police Presence And Vigilance At Park And In Heights

At Tuesday evening’s 84th Precinct Community Council Meeting, as expected, Deputy Inspector Sergio Centa (photo), the Precinct Commanding Officer, faced many questions about security in Brooklyn Bridge Park and on Brooklyn Heights streets, especially Joralemon, used by pedestrians going to and from the Park. He noted that his requests for additional officers to be assigned to the precinct had been successful, with twelve new officers assigned recently and twelve more coming. He attributed this principally to the explosive population growth in Downtown Brooklyn, with many new high rise apartment buildings completed and many more under construction or planned. Crime in the precinct has, he said, remained low. There have been several burglaries lately, in areas outside Brooklyn Heights. In each case the burglar entered through an unlocked door or window, and he urged people to keep these secured. He said the only type of crime that has increased steadily is fraud, principally through identity theft involving bank or credit cards.

D.I. Centa said there is a substantial police presence in Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. His “summer detail request” was met; as a consequence there will be 24 officers in the Park, with overtime on weekends. On Sundays, when there are often as many as 65,000 visitors in the Park, there will be thirty to forty officers present. The officers will be mobile, with bikes, scooters, and Smart Cars. Deployment will be concentrated on Pier 2.

Regarding Pier 2, D.I. Centa said he had taken the initiative to clear it before it became crowded on two occasions, because of indications that fighting was planned there. Asked how he obtained this intelligence, he said that he “didn’t want to give away trade secrets”, but allowed that one closure was caused by a Facebook posting. He said he is prepared to close the pier again under similar circumstances. He also kept Pier 2 closed for a day following closure because of a fight involving sticks and bottles, saying he was concerned that those involved might return to try to finish things off.

Asked if he was aware of what happens on Joralemon Street after pier closings, D.I. Centa said yes. He said police would regulate traffic at these times, and might divert some of it to Atlantic Avenue. Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Peter Bray said there had been incidents along Joralemon between Court and Furman streets, at times unrelated to pier closings, in which residents had been jostled and sometimes forced off sidewalks. He said the character of the affected blocks had been changed. Heights resident Jeffrey Smith described the situation as a “Heights-wide emergency”; Gothamist quotes him as having said, after the meeting, that he would get in his car, go Upstate, buy a couple of cases of shotguns, and hand them out.

Other issues affecting Brooklyn Heights were raised at the meeting. One resident complained of government tagged vehicles occupying “No Parking” spaces around Clinton and Joralemon streets. Another made an emotional plea to stop allowing people attending Sunday services at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral to park their cars on bike lanes, as this forces bike riders into traffic. D.I. Centa said this is a “courtesy” afforded to religious institutions throughout the city, and that he would not change it. The question of resident parking permits was raised, but it was pointed out that this is a State issue, not an NYPD one.

Those who wish to participate in the NYPD’s Operation ID, in which valuable portable electronic devices are registered and may be engraved with an identification number, were asked to call Officer Diana Torres at 929-371-4503.

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  • mlcraryville

    That they can do with the stroke of a pen.

    It is one thing for us to propose such reasonable limits. But with the NYPD being forced to expend tens of thousands of extra dollars in security, their voice would carry much more weight.
    How about it Deputy Inspector Centa?

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Questioning your hypothesis here. What makes you say that they can pour in in all the troops they can afford to, but the problem will persist? Seems that you are assuming such as fact. What is that conclusion based on? I disagree with it, or, at least I am willing to wait to see the results of the increased police presence before making such a determination.

  • Concerned

    This is a very good step in the right direction. Let’s hope the extra presence keeps the hoods and gangs out and allows the ball players a safe place to play.

  • Michael

    The Park is ruining the heights. Unstoppable.

  • Jorale-man

    I’m glad to hear that at least they’re exploring the idea of routing the rowdy park-goers up Atlantic when things get out of control down there.

    Re. Centa’s description of the bike-lane parking by the church on Henry Street as a “courtesy,” that’s rather disappointing. It’s not a courtesy to cyclists – or for that matter, to pedestrians, since those cars are often halfway up on the sidewalk. It’s been going on for years though and I doubt it will ever be challenged.

  • Eddyde

    “unnecessarily generous and free use of pier space” Huh? Its a public park, free recreation is what its there for.

  • petercow

    I’m the guy that made the “emotional plea”.

    And it’s not that Centa said he “couldn’t” change it. It’s that he “wouldn’t”.

    Big difference.

  • checo

    Also, I don’t understand what about going to church somehow removes walking or public transportation as an option for transportation. There is no reason for those things to be inherently related at all.

  • Sybil

    Why isn’t it the responsibility of the BBP to monitor all the piers, instead of the Police Force?????

  • Jorale-man

    Exactly. My only hypothesis is that some of those church-goers come in from outer reaches of the borough that the subway lines don’t reach as well. That’s giving them a lot of benefit of the doubt of course. And there are garages nearby too, if they must drive.

  • petercow

    One presumes when they gas up their cars, they have to pay. Ditto when using EZ-Pass.

    But the NYPD has decided to give a certain group of people, the right to break the law, and endanger people.

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com/ Claude Scales

    Thanks. I’ve edited the text accordingly.

    As I’ve said somewhere else recently: blog posts, like fine wine, may improve with age.

  • A Tree

    I’m not sure sure if this is hyperbole or not.

  • mlcraryville

    Of course it is their responsibility. But they shirk it. They are irresponsible and bad neighbors. They similarly don’t seem to care about noise control with audible bass sounds from the piers penetrating two blocks into the Heights. Not to mention ignoring prized views.

  • mlcraryville

    Free, peaceful, recreation in a shared,public space.

  • mlcraryville

    Police can damp down crowd behavior but they don’t get at its sick, societal roots. That’s not their job.

  • bobb

    The only people who endanger anyone are idiots on bikes. Get a friggin grip.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Apparently, basic physics escapes you.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    The likely reason is most cops are products of catholic school type upbringing. Thus, when the church speaks they’ll become submissive to whatever the clergy wants.

  • petercow

    Yeah – why don’t you tell us how many people have been killed by people on bikes (in 10 years), versus, hmm. let’s say cars. this past month?

  • petercow

    Well, I think it’s less conscious than that, but “bingo”.

  • petercow

    Thanks, Claude.

  • Michael

    Not hyperbole poor civic planning

  • A Tree

    The best thing to happen to this part of Brooklyn in decades is ruining the neighborhood because some teens are fighting?

  • Michael

    Give it time. You forgot to mention the gunfire in the park and on fulton landing. The mugging of a rabbi om joralemon. Those mere fights requires an evacuation of pier 2. Seems to be going in tge wrong direction.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    “Idiots on bikes” are annoying, and may cause accidents by causing cars or pedestrians to have to suddenly divert from their course, but pose no meaningful danger from a direct collision to anyone but themselves.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Well, I think this blog post and the conversation here is specific to the park, not societal issues at large. If the police “damp down” (whatever that means) on bad behavior in the park, doesn’t that essentially help deliver what those in our neighborhood are most particularly focused on here (a safe park)?

  • mlcraryville

    Yes, it does. And we can favor that. But if the Park design and offerings continue to attract large, unruly crowds with a bent toward violence, (see today’s Times survey on places where most gun violence erupts) the fundamental, design issue, will not have been addressed.

  • Hexo66

    Court Street between Joralomen and Livingston is a mess. There are people begging for money every 5 feet.