Police & Fire

Notes From October’s 70th Precinct Community Council Meeting

precinct meeting

Last Wednesday was the monthly 70th Precinct Community Council meeting, normally held the last Wednesday of each month at the UCP building (175 Lawrence Avenue between Ocean Pkwy and E 2nd Street) but this time at Saint Paul’s Church. The next meeting is scheduled for November 20 at 7:30pm back at UCP. Until then, here’s what you should know:

  • This was the 70th Precinct Community Council’s first meeting at Saint Paul’s, and Ed Powell and Inspector Eric Rodriguez said they wanted to start getting meetings up to this end of the precinct more often. However, Inspector Rodriguez said if you live far from the normal meeting location on Lawrence Avenue near Ocean Parkway and you need transportation to make it to meetings, to call the precinct (718-851-5511) and they’ll try and set up some rides.
  • Inspector Rodriguez said general crime was down about 12% in 28 day period and about 6% down overall from last year. He did warn, however, that upcoming CompStat reports would likely show a rise in crime since there was virtually no crime last year immediately following Hurricane Sandy.
  • Inspector Rodriguez said the shooting a few weeks ago at a bodega on E 18th Street near Church Avenue seemed clearly to be “a dispute between two people.” He said an altercation may have happened between the men over the summer, and this seemed most like an act of retaliation. The investigation is ongoing.
  • He says the precinct has successfully disbanded crews on some local blocks, and discreetly thanked some neighbors in attendance for their cooperation. A neighbor from Regent Place agreed chimed in to say that officers’ increased presence on her block since the last meeting has helped tremendously, and Inspector Rodriguez added that a shooting suspect on Regent and Beverley was caught because of that presence.
  • He also cautioned neighbors about potential dangers in the cold days to come, explaining they should be wary of fabric like curtains being too near to space heaters, as well as large carbon monoxide emissions from turning heat on. For these reasons, neighbors should remember to change the batteries in their home’s detectors if they haven’t already.
  • He said there will likely be an increase in electronic thefts (and other thefts) resulting from holiday shopping. If you carry a handbag, keep it on you and not in a shopping cart–and if you have shopping bags, you should know they’re not even safe to keep in the trunk of your car. “You don’t need a crowbar to open a trunk anymore,” Inspector Rodriguez said. “You just need a button.”
  • A more delicious-sounding but just as frustrating crime Inspector Rodriguez mentioned is “sliders,” who prey on drivers who leave valuables like bags in their passenger seat while pumping gas. These “sliders” apparently drive up next to parked cars, grab the bag, and continue off seamlessly. Be aware of where your belongings are at all times.
  • Get off your phone while crossing the street! Besides the danger of having your phone stolen, Inspector Rodriguez says the precinct has noticed many pedestrian accidents are tied to victims’ cell phone use.
  • The NYPD is looking for people ages 14-20 to join their Explorer program. Call 718-834-885 for more information.

  • One neighbor mentioned drivers making dangerous U-turns on Church Avenue near the subway station, often around 7 or 7:15am, and double parking in the same area. Inspector Rodriguez said the precinct just added one officer to their traffic program and is hoping to get one more, and will focus on the specified area within a few weeks. At the suggestion of a few other neighbors (one who said his main concern was drivers passing the congestion on Church up to E 18th Street and then pushing on the gas to Coney Island Avenue), Inspector Rodriguez said cops from both the 70th and 66th Precincts will check out traffic from Coney Island Avenue to Flatbush Avenue on Church and Caton within next few weeks.
  • Another concern came from a Dunkin Donuts employee who said he was having problems with people coming to the neighborhood for substance abuse support groups, only to end up doing drugs in the store bathroom. He said with people streaming in from two nearby clinics, his customers were beginning to complain. Another neighbor disagreed that those visiting for meetings were the problem, arguing instead that new people moving into the neighborhood just don’t understand how it’s been all along. “Hanging out and having a cup of coffee is not against the law,” Inspector Rodriguez said, so he plans to have neighbors and support group talk it out.
  • Finally, the neighbor who’d previously said new people moving in were the issue asked cops what they planned to do about allegedly-intoxicated people on E 18th Street in the morning.  “We’re probably there more than anywhere else in the precinct,” Inspector Rodriguez said of E 18th. He said officers were there on a daily basis and cops were giving out summonses, which the neighbor said wouldn’t make a difference and that the people in question “should be locked up.”
  • Ed Powell thanked the 70th’s Community Affairs officers, saying they aren’t alway recognized as much as other cops for their work but they ought to be.
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