Drivers saw increased police enforcement of traffic violations in our area during the second week of Vision Zero in the 70 Precinct.
Traffic safety and several other topics were discussed at last week’s Community Board 14 general meeting, reconvened after the summer break, and held at Edward R. Murrow High School on September 14th.
We’ve seen an uptick in homelessness in the district, reported Shawn Campbell, CB 14’s district manager. There’s been extra attention to the issue from the 70th Precinct’s Neighborhood Coordinating Officers (NCOs), along with outreach to the homeless by the City and non-profit organizations like Breaking Ground, which operates the Midwood Safe Haven.
[Almost 60,000 New Yorkers — 23,576 of whom are children — are currently living in homeless shelters across the five boroughs. Homelessness in New York City has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s, reports the Coalition for the Homeless. The number of New Yorkers in city shelters is 87 percent higher than it was ten years ago, the Coalition says.]
CB 14 also discussed plans to address the ongoing issue of additional basket collection on Avenues M and J. Those streets will get a bump in pick ups thanks to funding from Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
Crime Trends In Our Area
James R. Palumbo, Commanding Officer of the 70th Precinct, provided an overview of crime statistics for the summer and year to date period. Overall crime in the 70th Precinct, for the most recent 28-day period, is down 36 percent — that’s 100 major index crimes versus 156. In the year to date period, we’re down 10 percent, that’s 998 major index crimes compared to 1,102, Palumbo noted. (See NYPD statistics below.)
The precinct continues to see an overall reduction in crime, and looks forward to ending the year on a positive note, Palumbo said.
The one exception to this trend is reported rapes, which jumped from 11 at this point in 2015, to 20 this year. Asked about this trend earlier in the summer, the NYPD said the increase is overwhelmingly seen in the number of acquaintance rapes.
Palumbo added that our area is experiencing gang related activity on the northern end of the precinct, particularly at Woodruff Avenue and East 21 Street. “Our number one priority is to address violence in the Precinct,” he said.
There have been three shootings in the last 28 days, including the 33-year-old man shot and killed near Prospect Park. So far this year, the 70th Precinct has had 10 shooting victims, 16 fewer than at the same point last year.
Palumbo also noted that the precinct is in the second phase of a special Vision Zero initiative sponsored by the Mayor’s Office — a two week program that includes education, especially important since the 70th is experiencing what Palumbo called an alarming trend: a significant increase in overall collisions.
More aggressive enforcement of traffic laws is ongoing. Palumbo reported an arrest in the case of the woman who was killed on Empire Boulevard during J’Ouvert on Labor Day. The suspect was arrested on a drunk driving charge, a success which Palumbo partly attributed to the Vision Zero initiative — by addressing vehicle and traffic issues, the NYPD was able to catch a homicide suspect.
Here are the latest crime statistics for the 70th Precinct (as of September 11th):
Sarah Crean contributed reporting to this article.