Representatives from the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit tackled questions involving quality of life issues at the March 28th meeting of the 69th Precinct Community Council, held at the Hebrew Educational Society, 9502 Seaview Avenue.
Before taking questions from attendees, Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs Valerie Vazquez made some important announcements. Summer Youth Employment applications are open for youths, ages 14 to 24, for six-week job internships, as well as mayoral internships. Those interested can find more details at nyc.gov.
A temporary Water Bill Amnesty Program, available through April 30th, is available for residents who are in arrears on their water bill payments. Up to 100% interest forgiveness is being offered; call 718-595-7000 for more information.
“We all know the mayor hates rats,” Vazquez said. “Effective April 1st, residents can set out their waste earlier to help mitigate the rodent program in the city. Bags can be set out at 8 p.m. and 6 p.m. if using a bin.”
Vazquez fielded questions on topics like loitering, bikes left on streets where they don’t belong, Sanitation not picking up garbage on a timely basis or sweeping the streets properly. She informed the audience that a new Quality of Life Coordinator, who will work with Sanitation, has been added to the Community Affairs team and that neighborhood walkthroughs will be conducted to identify problem areas.
She was not aware of the mayor’s initiative to plant 20,000 trees over five years in Brooklyn but told Harold Jones, president of CCDI, that she would check to make sure Canarsie is included.
Other requests included a stop sign by the bike path, near the entrance to the Belt Parkway, and a blind spot on East 86th Street and Avenue K, near Canarsie Cemetery. Vazquez said she would follow up with the DOT on these requests.
In light of the recent school shooting in Nashville, Commanding Officer of the 69th Precinct Deputy Inspector Khandakar Abdullah said that he met that morning with school principals to discuss preventative measures and that he would be attending school safety drills to provide insight from the NYPD’s perspective.
Year to date, the 69th Precinct has seen a 16% decrease in crime overall – in six of the major seven crime categories – and a 12% decrease over the recent 28-day period, of which there were no shootings. And, year to date, shootings are down by 43%, Deputy Inspector Abdullah was happy to report during his monthly crime update.
The largest decrease has been in burglaries, and Abdullah credits that to the constant monitoring of specific targeted locations and the recent arrest of one prolific burglar who was traced to a stolen vehicle. Robberies are down too, thanks to the recent arrest of two repeat offenders, who are part of a “wolf pack.”
Although Grand Larceny Auto (GLA) continues to be a problem and there
has been a spike in catalytic converter thefts, specifically in Sector A, Abdullah said that the precinct is headed in the right direction, as most of the bad crimes are on the decline.
Captain Gregory Mackie, commanding officer of Transit District 33, a guest speaker at last week’s meeting, said his number one job is to make sure everyone is safe when they step into a transit facility.
The 69th Precinct has two transit stations within TD 33 – Rockaway Parkway and East 105th Street – and Mackie said that he has placed his officers at strategic turnstiles at these locations. “They are working closely with officers from the 69th Precinct on the day tour, the 4 to 12 shift and during the a.m. and p.m. rush with the goal of ensuring that when you walk into a station, there is law and order and you are protected.”
TD 33 has 51 stations and has seen a 25% reduction in major crime this year, although property crimes are prevalent. “It’s a frequent problem when people fall asleep on the train and they have their phones and other electronic devices out,” Mackie said, warning passengers to be aware of their surroundings.
Phone snatchers commonly victimize their targets near the doors, as they time the opening and closing of the doors, grab the device and run off. Criminals also walk between the subway cars, “shopping” for victims, looking to see who has valuables or who is an easy target, according to Mackie.
More cameras have been added to the transit system, and eventually cameras will be installed on the new fleet of subway cars, helping to solve even more crimes. Mackie concluded that the earlier you report a crime, the earlier officers can investigate the crime and apprehend the offenders.
Abdullah presented a Cop of the Month award to Police Officer Ioana Matiuta, a Neighborhood Coordination Officer in Sector D for five years, who was recently assigned to the Public Safety Team, which addresses quality of life concerns as well as violent street crime.
On Friday, February 17th, Officer Matiuta was patrolling in the vicinity of Rockaway Parkway and Avenue D, when she observed two motorcycles, without license plates, driving recklessly, Abdullah said. Both operators were not wearing helmets.
Matiuta stopped both motorcycles and determined that they were reported stolen. Both individuals were placed under arrest and have extensive arrest histories, ranging from multiple robberies, burglaries and firearm possession.
Over her nine-year career with the NYPD, Matiuta has made 124 arrests, 53 of which were felonies. Her hope is to be assigned to the NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force one day.
“Terrific work!”Abdullah said.