Southern Brooklyn

Video: 61st Precinct Commander Explains 2011’s Crime Surge


With a crime-fueled 2011 in the rear view mirror, the leader of the 61st Precinct suggested much of the year’s crime was a statistical anomaly, but authorities are gaining ground where they can.

Deputy Inspector Georgios Mastrokostas provided a year-end review for members of the 61st Precinct Community Council last night, giving context to the nearly eight percent surge in major crimes in a precinct that previously led the city in crime reduction.

In terms of violent crimes – murders, rapes and felonious assaults – Mastrokostas said the stats were heightened by a rash of unpredictable violence, as well as a legal reclassification of certain crimes. Murders, shootings and stabbings, for the most part, happened in normally quiet sections of the district, like the Marine Park shooting or the murder on Homecrest Avenue.

“We had some violence happening in not traditional places. We know that housing [projects are] going to bring us violence, so that’s why we put our resources there,” Mastrokostas said. “Some of this violence that came about this year just came out of nowhere.”

Not only were they unexpected, but eight of the murders – more than half of the total and the difference from the year prior – came from three incidents: four by Maksim Gelman, two from a mother-daughter slaying in April, and two more from a triple shooting in the Nostrand Houses.

Rapes, meanwhile, saw a jump from four to 11. However, Mastrokostas noted, these were largely domestic or acquaintance in nature, making it harder for the precinct to prevent.

“We’re not having stranger rapes. We’re not having people abducted off the street being raped. These are all people that are meeting people – whether it’s online, they’ve dated a couple of times, they may meet someone at a bar or a club and they come back home” and the incident occurs, Mastrokostas noted.

He added that legislators have reclassified strangulation, formerly a misdemeanor, as a felony after research showed many domestic violence cases included such abuse – and that led in part to the uptick in felonious assault statistics.

Where the precinct is gaining ground, however, is in robberies and burglaries. The year saw a sharp jump in both categories – particularly starting mid-year. Leading the robbery category is theft of iPhones and other electronic devices, he said.

“Everyone’s busy texting away and on the internet, but while you’re doing that you’re distracted,” he noted. “Next thing you know, as the [subway] doors are closing, someone reaches over your shoulder and robs your electronics.”

He said the precinct has been pushing a etching program to help track down stolen goods, and they’re also recommending apps to help locate devices after the theft.

That’s not to mention the arrests. Though the number of robberies and burglaries are up, Mastrokostas said they’ve been successful in nabbing many of the culprits. Authorities arrested a teen duo who accounted for 10 robberies in December alone (who were charged as adults), as well as a group of four individuals who had robbed several people in Manhattan Beach and around the district.

Comment policy


  1. The precinct is becoming a cesspool.  Drugs are all over the place.  Crime is definitely on the rise.  The courts let the criminals back out on the streets right away.  The cops are short-handed.  You’re lucky if there are two sector cars on patrol in the 61 every day.

  2. darn it- sorry I whacked the JERK who tripped my dog, and broke my toe nail off with my little bitty dog poop hiding canvas purse- (yes I went to “jail” for assault!!) Sad thing is, I had the black eye and a huge bruise on my leg from HIS and the 61st’s assault after I whacked him for not backing away from my dog and I!!!!If I had any idea I would have been arrested for defending my dog, I would have slugged him with a closed fist! As far as Danza goes we see squad cars all over the place in Manhattan Beach and Brighton beach- usually ignoring the “real” problems and getting those they know can lawyer up and pay up I  think they may be getting cuts from the lawyers or something! Only people I ever see in trouble are neighbors-“good” kids in the area..the little drug thugs and cat poisioners,knife stabbing murders (brighton 12), store robbing and bashing the owners head in masked creep, necklace grabbers ( if you see my chain and charms call me large reward offered to find the little jerk who ripped them off my neck while I was in the bodega!) are still strutting around cop free!! doughnut anyone?

  3. I feel as safe in the SB-Brighton-Coney neighborhood as I’ve ever felt. In this case I agree that the statistics are deceptive. One can complain that murders shot up, or one can see that one nut was responsible for four of them.

    I think about how I felt in the 70’s and 80’s about walking Brighton Beach Avenue or Neptune Avenue at night. I used to be scared spitless, and I was younger then. And the boardwalk at night? Nah, no way, man, not ever. The neighborhood is infinitely safer now than then.

       Let me say this about electronics theft. I can’t tell you how many times (twice this week alone), I have been sitting in a library next to someone using a laptop, and that person has left for at least 10 minutes, leaving his/her laptop sitting right next to me, unattended. I could own a store of laptops if I were a thief. Want to report that as a robbery? I think there should be an additional category “stupidity robbery”.

  4. Becoming a cesspool?  This precint has been going down the toilet for years.  When I was a kid, the cops would kick your ass if  you screwed up, then bring you home for a beating from your parents.  Now the cops are either 90 pounds soaking wet, or 350 pounds with asthma.  They do nothing.  When Mastrokostas took the command, I as a resident in the precinct thought that young blood would do something positive for our community.  Not only has this man done nothing, HE WAS PROMOTED TO DI FOR DOING ALL THAT NOTHING!!

  5. That Precinct is the most corrupt in Brooklyn along with the notorious 68th and 70th.

    In the last year alone I called them three times to report robberies, twice they refused to do anything and the third time they never even responded. But they did manage to have two undercovers tail a nice Jewish kid, chase him down and rough him up before demanding that he prove the laptop he was carrying was his and then made fun of him.

    Violations of his Constitutional Rights… on a good 15-year-old in Manhattan Beach. 

    My colleagues have been having a ball documenting all of the corruption, photographing them and videoing them, all of it being sent to the FBI. Don’t even bother with IAB or the local politicians. The Justice Department and the FBI are the only ones who will do anything. What has been going on will make the Mollen Commission look like a BoyScout meeting when this all breaks.

  6. I appreciate that you want to help and put more information out there. However, you have left several comments on this site in the same vein – always with different fake usernames and e-mail addresses. If you want to continue commenting, e-mail me (nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com) and we can discuss that documentation. Otherwise, I will remove your commenting privileges. Sheepshead Bites is not a venue for you to anonymously spread unverified and possibly defamatory information.

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