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'Violence is Down, Property Crimes Are Up,' Says Police Captain at 76 Pct

The local department has begun a number of initiatives to combat property theft.

New Commanding Officer Captain Jeffrey Schiff was in good spirits at the June monthly council meeting, which took place on Tuesday, June 5.

"I walked in earlier today to the Empire Strikes Back theme song," he said, laughing.

The Rebel Guard, as it were, is the 76 Precinct.

"This is going to be a seesaw battle with crime this community," said Captain Schiff, "because we have such low crime stats. The good news is that violence is down for the year. We're down two rapes, down 14 robberies, down 9 felony assaults. Further, we're down 20 misdemeanors. Violence is down in this community."

The flipside, he acknowledged, is that property theft is up. But even on that front, Schiff maintained that the precinct is making strides.

"We recently arrested an individual named Ephraim Gauthier, 24, who was caught in the act while breaking into a car," said Schiff. The young man was observed removing a diamond ring and other materials from the car around 2:00 a.m. before being stopped by police officers and questioned.

According to the NYPD, Gauthier has 42 previous arrests. As a result Schiff took it upon himself to visit the Red Hook Justice Center to speak with Judge Calabrese. From that conversation, and in light of his previous 25 convictions, Gauthier's bail was set at $10,000.

Other focused initiatives are being instituted to combat property theft, the captain said. "By all means please buy a lock for your bike," he said. "That is something easy residents can do to prevent theft. But we are planning a couple of sting operations at key locations involved in a rash of stolen bikes recently."

The 76 Precinct also offers a service of engraving a bicycle with a number to trace it in the event that it is stolen and then recovered by police, added 76 Precinct Community Council President Jerry Armor.

"We will be doing that at National Night Out and at the Smith Street Fair on Sunday, June 24, from 12 to 6. It runs from Union Street to Bergen Street," noted Community Liaison Officer Paul Grudzinski.

"And you can do that for electronics too," the captain said. "Please bring them in."

naidre June 07, 2012 at 04:25 AM
I never, ever, ever see any police presence anywhere in this neighborhood. No cops walking streets, no cops driving around. It's like a phantom force.
Robin June 07, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Seriously the 76th first needs to crack down on the number of bikes being tied up to the poles in the area. It's an eyesore and most importantly it's an inconvenient to drivers when parking a car. I've had my back light broken because of a bike that was sticking out when I was backing in to a parking space. That light cost me $300, who’s going to pay me for the damage to my car. There have been many of times that I had to climb out of my passenger’s side because a bike has prevented me from opening my door. Let's not mention the number of scratches I have on my car because of the bikes. I was always under the impression that there was some sort of law against a bike being tied up to a pole. There was an article in the paper a number of years ago, about how the police were clipping bikes from public poles in one area. I’ve had to run out of my house a couple of times to stop the idiots from tieing their bike to my front gate. Some thing really needs to be done about this. This is really getting out of hand
Anthony June 07, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Cops and/or lawmakers are going to do nothing about bikes tied to poles. The yuppies would flip their lid and the lawmakers are afraid of them. More yuppies in this area than old timers so they need to appease the majority. I agree with you Robin. God forbid we inconvenience the bikers a little bit. Oh, I forgot: bikes don't kill people so they're totally okay to do whatever they want.
Louise June 07, 2012 at 03:12 PM
One morning I saw 2 bikes tied up to a tree on my block..wow. When they look for an apartment do they ask if there is a pole of any kind be it a bus stop pole or a stop sign pole? There are bikes on my block on Columbia St that look like the jerks parked them there and moved or just lost the keys to the chain. Why don't they rob those bikes? My poor husband had his bike stolen from a bike rack and he probably had it there a month or so and poof they robbed it. Some yuppie must have bought it from the neighborhood bike thief. Yes Robin the bike situation is getting out of hand...
ashmc June 07, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I am not a bike owner, but please share with me -- where are bikers supposed to lock their bikes in the neighborhood? There are no bike racks on the neighborhood streets, save for the busier thoroughfares like Court and Smith. And those are few and far between. I can't imagine having to carry a heavy bike up/down flights of stairs every day (I also imagine some uptight landlords would not like the possibility of bikes hitting the walls, leaving marks, etc). And on the flipside, I don't think many landlords like bikes locked on their front gates or even within their gated areas. So I really am just curious as to know what the alternative is for bikers if they are not allowed to lock on poles. Thanks!
Carroll St Neighbor June 07, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I wonder if is actually illegal for the bikes to be chained to a pole or sign.
Robin June 07, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I am a home, bike, car owner and an old timer. I’m not sure where bikers should park their bikes. But I can tell you where they shouldn’t park and that’s on other people’s property Home owner- I put a lot of time and money into up keeping my property. The last thing I want is someone chaining their bike to my gate or in my gated area. I don’t mind my tenant’s carrying their bikes up and down the stairs. But I will charge them for any damages they cause by having to carry their bikes up and down. You see as a home owner, my tenant’s bike is not my problem. I’m renting an apartment to them, where they park the bike has nothing to do with me. Just as long as it’s not on my property. Bike owner- I own a bike for many years and I NEVER chained my bike up to someone else property. I also store my bike in my apartment not on my gate.
Robin June 07, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Car owner – Parking is hard in this area as it is. It’s even harder when you have to pass up a spot because a bike is preventing you from opening up your driver’s door. The last thing I want to do after a long day at work is crawl out of my passenger side. After paying $30,000 or more for a car, the last thing I need is a scratch or a broken light caused by a bike. Who is going to pay for my damages?? Old timer- I have very deep roots here. As far back as I could remember I never saw so many bikes as I do now. Back them there was tons of kids riding bikes and running the streets. But not one ever parked their bike on other people’s property. We were taught to respect other people’s property. We had respect, which is not the case anymore.
Louise June 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Well put Robin...we never disrespected anyone or their property. We would never have put our bikes on someones gate let alone someone else's property. There are a lot more bikes than ever before in the city. They need to put more bike racks in the streets BUT must they take away parking spots from car owners? Back in the day if you wanted a bike and had no elevator? The bike was carried up and down...they need to deal with it...
Danielle June 07, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Agreed. I'm hoping this new captain can turn things around. I live near the precinct and I have noticed a reduction in the amount of "shenanigans" and tomfoolery going on over there by the cops since this guy came in. Not sure if it's just a coincidence.

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