Community members and local leaders welcomed newly assigned Sector D Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) at the 63rd Precinct’s first quarterly Build the Block meeting, held on the evening of Thursday, March 10th via Zoom.
Officer Jonathan Perez introduced himself and his partner, Officer Mario Guerrero, as the new NCOs assigned to Sector D, covering Glenwood, Flatlands and New Amersfort.
“We’re a team and we’re all working together — that’s how I see it,” Perez said, setting the tone for any concerns or issues that were raised during the hour-long meeting.
Perez reported on a string of six robberies in the area with people who deliver food and are robbed after they reach the phony location.
There was also a gunpoint robbery on Flatbush Avenue and a felony assault involving a stabbing near the South Shore Educational Complex a few weeks ago. Both cases are still under investigation.
He advised parents to keep an eye on their children, use geolocation on their phones to track their child’s location and talk with them to find out what’s going on at their school.
He explained that NCOs work with YCOs (Youth Coordination Officers) in the same office. “We can all work together like a family, Perez said. “We don’t want to see people getting hurt after school when they should just be getting out, doing homework, just relaxing and having fun.”
Car problems such as grand larceny of running vehicles and catalytic converter thefts have been an issue. “If your catalytic converter was taken, make sure you let us know and do a report so we can add it to the other reports that we have because it is becoming a pattern,” Perez said. Any video and reporting would help them a lot in their investigations, he added.
Residents and representatives of both the 45th and 46th Council Districts asked about how and when towing operations take place. Perez explained the process and said that if a car is unregistered and appears to be derelict with no plates or mismatched plates, they will take it. If it’s registered and legal to be on the road, they will chalk where the tires are and check back later. If it’s there for more than seven consecutive days after being chalked and the car hasn’t moved, they can take it.
Perez also warned of ride-sharing robberies, tax time scams and newer trending cryptocurrency scams. “If you’re using Coinbase and you don’t really understand it, try to have someone help you out with that,” he said. “Guard your passwords and accounts.”
Among resident concerns were more recent sightings of homeless individuals on Flatbush Avenue from the nearby 2/5 subway lines at the Flatbush Junction. Although that area is the 70th Precinct’s responsibility, residents complained that homeless individuals cross over to the 63rd Precinct neighborhoods making many feel unsafe.
“Yes, the homeless are coming out of the 2 and 5. They’re walking down Flatbush, past Avenue H, past Avenue I and keep going,” one resident said. “They’re loitering in front of the Phillip Howard building as well and it’s awfully difficult when you’re waiting for buses to be out there in the morning, so it is affecting both precincts.”
Joan Gilbert, president of the Flatlands Civic Club, Inc., said that even if it’s not the 63rd Precinct, she agrees with residents. “It’s a domino effect and pivots into other areas,” she said. “They move in gradually into different neighborhoods, so it’s something to be aware of.” Perez took note of her point and said that if anyone feels threatened or in danger to call 911. Sabrina Dieujuste from Councilwoman Farah Louis’ office suggested that residents contact the homeless outreach organization, Breaking Ground, at 212-389-3900 for help.
Gilbert and others praised the work of the NCOs in helping to address past problems in the neighborhood and said they are looking forward to working with them in the future. She said that the next meeting of the Flatlands Civic will take place on Thursday, March 24th at 7 p.m. via Zoom. For access information, email: Flatlandscivic@gmail.com.