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The 79th Precinct Community Council Meets

Participants grilled the new captain on ways to increase and improve police presence in the neighborhood

Commanding Officer's Address:

The 79th Police Precinct Community Council held its monthly meeting Wednesday night. Deputy Inspector Peter Bartoszek was on vacation. In his place, Captain Centa presented the commanding officer’s address regarding crime in the 79 over the past month.

“We’ve gotten off to a rough start this year,” said Centa. “Crime is up close to 39 percent. A lot of the incidents are occurring around the northern end of the neighborhood, in the Tompkins Houses area. There, we are getting hit with a lot of robberies. We have more impact officers assigned to that area now.”

Public Question and Answer Session:

Q: Will the precinct be assigning more plainclothes officers, because it seems as though the perpetrators simply change their behavior when they see police officers around; they seem to know the officers’ patterns and when to expect them.

A: We have plainclothes officers out already, and they patrol the entire command.

Q: Can more of the command officers assigned to Fulton Street stroll the neighborhood’s side streets as they're moving toward Fulton Street?

A: I never thought about that. But that’s something we can consider. I think it’s a good idea; and it’s something we can change.

Q: Where are the regular officers assigned to this precinct? What are they doing? Why so many command officers in special units? Can we have more officers who are available to the community for the smaller incidents?

A: The command is broken into 9 sectors and is usually patrolled by 5 sector cars. When they’re not assigned to a “job,” they are assigned to the general areas. And the specialized units are there to supplement the patrol officers when needed.

Q: I keep seeing 79th Precinct Police in Manhattan. Can you tell me how many of our officers are out in Manhattan?

A: It’s an anti-terror tool. And it has been going on since September 11. It’s not my decision to send the officers outside of their precinct; it comes from up top. We would all like to see those officers here are all the time, but we have to see the bigger picture. They move around a lot and keep potential terrorists off-balance. (Centa also mentioned that just last week officers from outside of our precinct similarly were assigned to some of Bed-Stuy’s high impact area when crime was heaviest).

Public Announcements:

Mr. Gene Fowler, the new director of Von King Park, handed out packets of information regarding a suite of new programs he will be introducing to the community out of the Von King Park's Community Center-- most of which are targeted to the area's youth. Some of the programs include yoga, movie screenings, free music classes; teaching the teens how to play the piano, bass guitar and other instruments). Also soon, Von King will be shut down temporarily for renovations. For the renovation schedule and a list of upcoming programs to be launched by Von King, contact Mr. Fowler at 718-622-2082.

Monthly Reports:

Secretary’s Report—Al Thompson: “One of the things we should do is play our role in helping to prevent some of these on-the-street thefts. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t walk with electronics out and open on display.”

Scholarship Report: No report

Treasurer’s Report: No report

Elected Officials:

  • Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries—“I have always said that the best crime prevention strategy is employment,” said Jeffries. “Our young people are not born criminals. If the young people are busy working and gainfully employed, you will see a significant drop in the amount of criminal activity.”

“We passed the At-Risk Inner City Youth Tax Program administered by the Department of Labor. There is now a substantial tax credit for those who hire youth from the community.”

Interested business owners may contact the office of Hakeem Jeffries for more information on how to participate at 718-596-0100.

Also, the State legislature will be voting soon on new district lines.

“The current lines are designed to dilute the voting strength of minority communities,” said Jeffries. “We’re urging Governor Cuomo to veto, if they pass as-is in the Senate.”

  • Joan Eastman, from State Senator Montgomery’s office--  For those who work with or know anyone who has recently been released from prison, the Senator’s office has a book with a list of resources and programs to help their transition back into society. You may call 718-643-6140.
  • Mr. Woods from City Councilman Al Vann’s office – The councilman has assembled a City Hall Roundup of recently passed legislation from January. “We encourage everyone to please read so that you can understand the work and the progress.”

The 79th Police Precinct Community Council meets the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 28th.

Kevin Harewood February 24, 2012 at 04:25 PM
This guy is the precinct captain and he never considered that it might be more prudent to have more police presence on residential side streets as opposed to just on Fulton Street? Are you kidding me?
pat February 25, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Kevin, the issue with that is that people will complain also if they see police in their neighborhoods. Locals take it as an intimidation tactic by police. It's like the NYPD could never get it right, until the time comes for a person in need of help. I do agree that they need to patrol the residential areas more.
marion w little February 25, 2012 at 08:09 PM
This is our neighborhood and we have to become more proactive in the change. change is going to happen with or without us so take a stand and make a different in help chaning your community.

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