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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."

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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