From officers arresting a machete-wielding man who broke into a house when a family was home to new speed limits for area roads as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan, there was much to discuss at the last 70th Precinct Community Council meeting before the group’s summer break.
Here’s a rundown of what happened at last Wednesday night’s meeting, held at the UCP building (175 Lawrence Avenue between Ocean Parkway and E 2nd Street):
- Deputy Inspector Richard DiBlasio, the precinct’s relatively new commanding officer, presented awards to a number of police officers who he commended for contributing to the precinct’s 7.5% drop in crime over last year. “These are notable arrests that saved people’s lives,” DiBlasio said.
- Police Officers Louis DeFranco and Kevin McCarthy were recognized for an arrest on June 16, when DiBlasio said a witness spotted a machete-carrying individual trying to break into a Westminster Rd house. After the witness called 911, the commanding officer said the perpetrator fled when he realized he was being watched and broke into another house – where a family was at home. After DeFranco and McCarthy saw the man fleeing from the second house, they ran after him and were able to apprehend the man. “We thank you for such a great arrest, and this person is now paying the price,” DiBlasio said.
- Officers Joseph Corrado and Brian Festo made arrests on June 19 that were lauded by the deputy inspector – who said the two men “took thugs off the street.” While patrolling on Flatbush Avenue near E 27th Street, DiBlasio said the officers captured two people who had fled from them, one of whom they had to chase all the way to Brooklyn College before being able to bring him into custody. Inside the car that the two men were driving, the commanding officer said “there ended up being a loaded .38 revolver… These thugs were out there to do something very bad in the neighborhood. Because of these officers, this turned into removing two violent felons off the street.” One of the men arrested, DiBlasio said, has a history of run-ins with the police, and “about 10 years ago, he discharged firearms and exchanged fire with officers from the 70th Precinct.”
- Officers Kevin Fink and Michael Baldofsky were praised by the deputy inspector for arresting a man walking around with a MAC-11 firearm (a subcompact machine pistol) around Flatbush Avenue and Clarendon Road on June 6. The man apprehended also had a history of arrests. “We’re keeping the Brooklyn district attorney very busy here in the 70th precinct,” DiBlasio said.
- DiBlasio commended Officer Max Rolffot and Sgt. Jose Baez for nabbing another individual carrying a loaded .38 firearm “on his person in plain view – just hanging out on his waist” around 2am on Newkirk Avenue “in the twenties.” “Because of their great work, we removed an individual who also has an arrest history for very similar violations,” the deputy inspector said. “These officers were out there working all night long, and they were able to come up with this individual who was going to do bad things. Thank you for saving someone’s life.”
- Assemblyman Jim Brennan was also at the meeting and spoke about state lawmakers green-lighting a bill that permits the city to lower its default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 mph – a move that was a major staple in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to significantly curb traffic-related fatalities over the next decade. “The faster a vehicle is going, the more likely it is they will be killed or seriously injured,” Brennan said. “To the extent that all of us as citizens and as drivers obey the limits, this should improve public safety.”
- After a reporter inquired about the anti-gentrification graffiti on Church Avenue, DiBlasio said his officers are “always after graffiti” and said “we do some intelligence on it.” The deputy inspector did not directly address the Church Avenue scrawlings but did say if individuals see graffiti, they can call the precinct or 311. “If you see something, say something and we’ll try to clean it up,” DiBlasio continued. “We do take it very seriously, no matter what the wording is.”
- August 5 will be the precinct’s National Night Out Against Crime, an event that began as a way to promote community involvement in crime prevention activities and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods and police are working together for a better quality of life. Everyone is invited to join the 70th Precinct for free food, games, and more at the Parade Ground (Caton Avenue at Argyle) on Tuesday, August 5 from 6:30pm to 9pm. For more information, call Community Affairs at 718-851-5557.