Southern Brooklyn

Violent Crime Is On The Rise In Sheepshead Bay, Deadliest Year In A Decade

Investigators on the scene of one of Maksim Gelman's stabbings.

Increased media reports of stabbings and other brutal attacks in Sheepshead Bay may have created the perception of a violent crime wave; now statistics from the 61st Precinct show that violent crime is unquestionably on the rise.

Local officials have been reporting at civic meetings that crime is down in the neighborhood, most recently at Community Board 15. But the latest crime data show no overall change whatsoever in the crime rate as of this date, and a sharp spike in violent crimes compared to last year.

“If you see something call 911. No place is safe,” said an officer at the 61st Precinct who declined to give his name.

The most recent CompStat report, a weekly summary of major crimes produced by every precinct, records a zero percent change compared to last year in the total number of crimes in the seven major categories – murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto. However, a closer look shows that the overall number is a balance between a decline in non-violent crimes and a steep uptick in violence.

For example, felony assault – an attack that results in serious injury and may include a weapon – is up 90 percent for this year, with 38 cases since January 1. The precinct also recorded four murders, compared to none last year, and two rapes, compared to one. Outside of the seven major categories, misdemeanor assault incidents are up 20 percent, with 111 cases recorded.

Historical data paints an even more alarming picture: this may be our most dangerous year in at least a decade.

Compared with data from 2009 and 2001 – the years included in CompStat reports to measure two-year and 10-year rate changes – the numbers have increased for murders and felony assault incidents. They’ve stayed the same for rape. Misdemeanor assault charges were not recorded for CompStat comparisons before 2009.

Some of the numbers may be misleading, though. All four murders and at least one of the felony assault charges belong to Maksim Gelman, the knife-wielding madman who went on a 28-hour killing spree in February. Remove him from the picture, said one local leader, and you get much rosier numbers.

“Gelman was just an anomaly who is extremely disturbed, otherwise crime is at an all-time low compared to how it used to be,” said Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo. “I do not believe this neighborhood is less safe.”

Scavo, who is also the treasurer for the 61st Precinct Community Council, said she meets with police officials every other week and “crime is truly down.” She said the numbers don’t always reflect context, and that many of the crimes were domestic, not random. For example, a March 7 double stabbing on Sheepshead Bay Road near Gravesend Neck Road was a dispute between acquaintances over money. The one recorded rape was a domestic affair between a husband and wife.

“Sometimes the numbers are up, but not necessarily meaning that strangers are in people’s homes and crime is rampant,” Scavo said. “I’m not feeling that. I’m really really not.”

But there certainly are a number of other random attacks. The most recently reported was March 13, when a man got out of his car on Sheepshead Bay Road and stabbed someone during a road-rage style brawl. A police source told Sheepshead Bites that there were as many as four other stabbings that weekend alone. However, the statistics don’t break out “random” attacks from others, so it’s difficult to know if the area truly is becoming more dangerous.

It’s for that reason that Scavo doesn’t believe the issue of violent crimes needs to become a priority at local civic meetings. She and Deputy Inspector Mastrokostas – the commanding officer of the 61st Precinct – both appear to agree that rim and tire thefts are the only consistently increasing crime category, and it’s there that the NYPD is focusing its efforts. Scavo noted at the recent Community Board 15 meeting that our neighborhood is leading the borough in that crime category, and the precinct has launched a special Midnight Conditions Team to thwart thieves.

The 61st Precinct Community Council holds meetings every second Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. (locations vary). Meetings are open to the public and are an opportunity to express concerns about crime issues to the Deputy Inspector and other local leaders.

With additional reporting by Alexandra Ushakova.

Comment policy


  1. There is a huge amount of violence going on recently in Sheepshead Bay. All I see is murder, stabbing and fighting every time I see anything in the news about our neighborhood. It’s amazing how I can’t drive five blocks without seeing a cop somewhere and yet we have all this going on. They are either slacking off or there is too much crime going on that is not controlled. I hate knowing when my teenage kids go to school that there are drug dealers almost on every corner. The are hangout places which are clearly trouble and no one controls them. Not too long ago I found out my son goes to the log cabin bar. I prohibited him going to a place called a drug bar. If everyone is so aware of that then why is it still around? I have seen kids smoking pot on Emmons avenue and I don’t see how the police cursing the neighborhood cannot stop this. No wonder people are killing others they are hanging out at places and with people who only influence violence.

  2. Not at all dramatic. I place some of the failure to control crime on modern tech.
    Thieves, drug dealers and pimps have lookouts and they are on the cell phone.
    I (who wouldn’t) could drop a car off a jack in a heart beat coming from a warning on a cell.
    The commanding officer Mr. M. (long name) will and does tackle any problems he is aware of. Please get to a 61Pct. meeting or speak him or one of his officers privately.

  3. If your child had to try to succeed and have a good life amongst trash and drugs you would worry too but I guess you don’t since you must enjoy it

  4. “The one recorded rape was a domestic affair; a husband overly-insistent with his wife.”
    I’m not sure if these are your own words, or someone else’s, Ned, but I would be remiss not to point out how utterly disrespectful and imbued with some old-fashioned backwards ideas it is. Rape is rape regardless of whether it’s two strangers or a husband and wife. You wouldn’t dare say that a stranger who attacks and rapes a woman he doesn’t know was “overly insistent.” Marriage does not downgrade this man’s crime, nor does it make it any more excusable. This kind of comment hearkens back to a time when the law (our law) excused violence against women as simply being part and parcel with the vows of marriage.

  5. Thanks for commenting, MFD – I definitely appreciate another person’s opinion on it. Those words are mine, and I hope it provides some consolation to know that I wrestled over the phrasing of it for a good bit. I was trying to find a way that didn’t sound dismissive or “imbued with some old-fashioned backwards ideas,” while also indicating that it was two people who had a relationship, as opposed to a totally random incident. That was the point of the entire paragraph.

    Rape is rape – no doubt. But the message here was that there’s a difference between random crimes, which for most are far more terrifying, and crimes where there is a connection between perpetrator and victim.

    Your concern is certainly fair. Let’s work together on it. How do you recommend altering that sentence to make the point that it wasn’t random, without sounding dismissive of the crime?

  6. Your thesis for that paragraph is pretty clear, in terms of making the point that you’re differentiating between random acts of violence versus those arising among parties with a previous relationship. I would simply leave it at, “”The one recorded rape was a domestic affair – between a husband and wife.” Perhaps someone can suggest something more eloquent, but in light of the clear context, I don’t think it requires much more explanation. Especially with such a delicate topic.

    I really appreciate the response. If it eases your mind at all, know that I only commented because I was so surprised to see something like that on the blog, and knew you might appreciate the feedback, and take it with an open mind.

    Kudos to you on what you do here. Your blog might single-handedly be responsible for reminding me how much I really love our neighborhood.

  7. You saw a cop? In Sheepshead Bay? Oh, not working, but slacking off! Am I surprised? I don’t think so. The cops today are cowards – afraid to do anything pertaining to their job. There was a drunk man on the train one day – he was really obnoxious, harassing people and tried to hit a man who was just minding his own business. When the train pulled into Sheepshead Bay, there were 5 cops hanging all together BS’ing. A bunch of us stood in the trains doors asking them to remove this guy. One cop stuck his head in the door and said NO. There used to be standards for a person to become a cop. Now they hire anyone, fat, skinny, short, stupid.

  8. It is just amazing. I can imagine if they didn’t see anything, but they have it happen right before their eyes and then they look at the people like they don’t understand. They do nothing and the worst part is there are real cops who deserve so much thanks and respect and these no good and do nothing cops par-take in the credit and feel like they deserve the same amount of respect.

  9. […] Originally Posted by brianbeach85 That is just not true Manhattan Beach & Bergen Beach has not seen any spike in crime recently. … To be fair,I didn't think Anon was referring to Manhattan Beach and Bergen Beach specifically in his reference to increased crime.It sounded more to me as though he was referring to the increased crime in that general area of Brooklyn,specifically in Sheepshead Bay. Violent Crime Is On The Rise In Sheepshead Bay, Deadliest Year In A Decade | Sheepshead Bay News Blo… […]

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