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."