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More cops to confront crime spike

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An infusion of extra cops and some revolutionary police tactics will hopefully dull down the 10 percent spike in crime the 61st Precinct is currently facing, officials announced this week.

Commanding officer Captain George Mastrokostas told the 61st Precinct Community Council last Wednesday that, so far, his plans have bore fruit.

“This is the first time this year that crime is down for the 28-day period,” said Mastrokostas, noting a 17 percent drop in felony crime between mid-April and mid-May, when compared to the same four weeks in 2007.

Crime statistics are reviewed weekly, monthly and yearly, officials said. While crime fell last month, statistics show that felony crime had increased by nearly 10en percent as of May 11.

Mastrokostas explained that two crime trends are driving their increased statistics – a jump in burglaries as well as an increase in youth-on-youth crimes.

To combat them, the 61st Precinct is receiving roughly 35 additional officers daily.

The officers are assigned to patrol the avenues and streets that teens use on their way home from school, he said.

“About four weeks ago, we noticed a surge in crime in the area between Avenue U to Voorhies Avenue and from Ocean Avenue to Nostrand Avenue,” he said. “We discovered that as kids were coming back home from school, they were robbing each other,”

Cops were also receiving burglary reports in Sheepshead Bay and Homecrest, which makes up roughly half of the precinct. Other neighborhoods protected by the 61st Precinct include Manhattan Beach and sections of Midwood.

With the new officers in place, Mastrokostas started a new patrol procedure that gets cops out of their patrol cars.

Patrol officers are now ordered to not only drive around their section of the command, but to routinely park their vehicle and walk on foot several blocks in every direction from where their vehicle is sitting.

Uniformed officers are also instructed to walk down driveways and check out back yards for burglars, since most of the break-ins residents have suffered have been through the side and back windows, Mastrokostas said.

“If you see a police car parked on Avenue T and East 16th Street, and a cop walking a few blocks down, please do not think that something big is going on, it’s just our new procedure,” the Captain said. “Actually, they’ll be in areas that are getting better.”

As of May 11, the 61st Precinct has seen a 14 percent increase in robberies, NYPD statistics show. The precinct has also seen a 35 percent jump in burglaries, which boils down to 34 additional burglaries this year than in 2007.

The number of car thefts in the command is also up, by nearly 13 percent, officials said.

The number of assaults in the command is down – by 13 percent, officials said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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