It’s been six “great” weeks Captain David A. Wall said about his new command as 66th Precinct commander, as he reviewed crime stats before the precinct’s monthly Community Council meeting on February 16.
“We’re doing good police work,” he said thanking several community organizations who helped the precinct out, among them Louie Lou and BACOP who found shelter for five families displaced by a fire on 48th Street. Good rapport, he’d stressed at his first meeting, can help the police make it through.
Still, he’s got to get the latest crime rise under control.
From January 16 to February 12, the most recent 28-day period that the cops study for felony crime trends, the precinct saw a 13.4 percent spike, the result of a 40+ percent jump each for Grand Larceny, Grand Larceny Auto, and Burglaries. Overall, crime jumped from 82 felonies in 2016 during this same 28-day period to 93 now, for a grand total of 130 felonies since the start of 2017.
Other categories, such as robbery, remained flat (12 vs. 12). Felonious assault was cut to 47.6 percent (a 37 percent drop for the year), while rape and murder stayed at zero. Of those 12 robberies, 7 cases were closed with 13 people arrested, and 7 of the felonious assault cases were also closed with an arrest.
To address the surge, Capt. Wall will double down on grand larceny, grand larceny auto, and burglary, by identifying the recidivists, the pros ”who do the same crime over and over” and work with the DA’s office to hit them up with high bail. “Once you take people off the street, you should see a decrease,” he said.
Working with limited staff, the 66th precinct can switch resources to cover areas where there are problems. (for example, 8th and 9th avenues where the car break-ins have occurred.)
Should the precinct be added to the Neighborhood Coordinating Officers (NCO) Program, (a great program, the commander said) it would get additional officers and vehicles assigned to it. But so far, the 66th has no word from Police Commissioner O’Neill on when that will happen.
Member of the public can also do things to protect themselves, Captain Wall reminded his audience. The burglaries, he said, are happening through fire escape entries and by perps forcing open weak front doors.
He recommended making sure windows are secure and the door frame fits properly i.e. flush. If they’re not, he advised having your landlord fix it. Or, you can also have the precinct do a survey of your premises and make recommendations. Call the crime prevention officer to make an appointment at (718) 851-5620.
Thieves are learning grand larceny is less dangerous than street robbery, and potentially more lucrative: ID theft, financial crime, credit cards opened in a victim’s name, grabbing cell phones — often through open subway car doors — are crimes on the rise.
The latest scam is someone calls and gets you to say ‘YES,” by asking “Can you hear me?” in confirmation of phone payment. Don’t answer. Hang up. Your voice will be used to make unauthorized charges.
Other advice: Don’t throw anything with your name or address in the garbage, especially credit card offers. Remove the address label before you toss. Don’t leave expensive property unattended in your hallway or car.
A flyer distributed by the precinct advises against the obvious: Don’t leave the vehicle running or keys in the ignition.Don’t leave any personal property in your vehicle including laptops, cell phones, GPS, briefcases, credit cards, registration. Leave nothing in your car. Park in well-lit areas. REMEMBER, JUST A MINUTE IS TOO LONG!
Felonious assault and domestic violence
From experience, the police know which situations could lead to disputes which end in assault. Late-night drinking is one of them, Captain Wall said. “It happens all over over the city.” That’s why you sometimes see police parked near bars. Domestic violence is another that escalates easily. It often starts with an argument over dishes or staying out too late.
“These are difficult cases,” the commander commented. “The precinct tries to give all the help it can. We can visit, or intervene to de-escalate. Please do not hesitate to call the domestic violence officers if you’re having difficulty at (718) 851-5625.
The 66th Precinct Community Council meets regularly on the third Thursday of the month at Community Board 12’s Boro Park office, 5901 Thirteenth Avenue. The next meeting will be March 16 at 7pm. Add your name to the Community Council email list at [email protected], or by calling (718) 851-5611. You can also follow the Precinct happenings on Twitter @NYPD66precinct