DITMAS PARK – People from the Midwood, Fiske Terrace, Ditmas Park, and Prospect Park South communities gathered at the Pakistani American Youth Society (PAYS) office on Newkirk Avenue for the monthly “Build the Block” meeting with Sector C of the 70 Precinct.
“Build the Block” is a series of local neighborhood safety meetings between police officers and the community – each precinct has four Sectors (A, B, C, D) and each sector holds regular meetings in addition to the monthly precinct-wide community meetings, allowing for smaller issues to be brought forward.
Before the 7 p.m. meeting began, two clipboards with two sign-in sheets were being passed around. One was for the “Build the Block” meeting, and the other was for the meet & greet organized by Kashif Hussain (running for district leader) and Blake Morris (running for State Senate). It turns out, both meetings were accidentally scheduled for the same day and time. So, “Build the Block” took up the first hour and the meet & greet began at 8 p.m.
One man complained about people sitting on the steps of his Marlborough Rd. building. He claims that they smoke, drink, and possibly take drugs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night. The people who sit on the steps, he continued, don’t even live in the building. In fact, he believes they don’t even live in the neighborhood.
Neighborhood Coordination Officers Bryan Cipolla and Dilek Kahveci noted the complaint and said there should be officers driving by the area from now on.
One woman spoke about feeling unsafe while walking home from the subway station at night. She asked what she could do.
The cops advised her to walk in larger streets where there are more people; walk where there is light and where cops patrol in their shifts. She also asked if she can call 911 if she sees a “suspicious person” and feels unsafe.
“What’s suspicious to you, may not be suspicious to someone else, or may not be suspicious at all,” Kahveci said. But yes, she is allowed to call the cops if she does feel unsafe.
Another big issue was reckless driving. One man said there’s a lot of speeding and reckless driving occurring in Marlborough Rd. between Cortelyou Rd. and Newkirk Avenue; as well in Ditmas Avenue and Dorchester Rd. He said he sees it happen from his house’s window, and when he drops his kids off at school.
“Cars speed, they cross the red light, and they fail to yield to pedestrians,” the neighbor said. “There are no speed bumps.”
According to the cops, there were 20 pedestrians that were struck in the 70th Precinct area last month. Most of them were on Coney Island and Ocean Avenues. The neighbor claims he reached out to the DOT and was told that it takes two years for the DOT to conduct a traffic study. The complaint was noted by the cops, who said there is a group in the precinct where cops specifically work with Vision Zero initiatives.
At the end of the meeting, a woman thanked Cipolla and Kahveci for their “great” work and said she feels much safer with them around.
Check out when/where your next “Build the Block” meeting is here.