By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This Fourth of July, for the first time since 2009, the fireworks have moved back to the East River -- and that means great views at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Even with huge crowds expected, the 84th Precinct, which patrols those areas, is ready encouraging everyone to come out to enjoy the event.
"Go out to the promenade, go out into the Brooklyn Bridge Park area and enjoy the fireworks," 84th Precinct Captain Maximo Tolentino said at this month's community council meeting. "This is the first time in quite a while that they have had it on this side of Manhattan. You can't get better views that those spots and we'll be ready for the crowds."
The 84th Precinct Community Council holds monthly meetings throughout the area that is policed by the 84th Precinct. This month’s meeting was held in front of Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, giving community members a chance to check out the park. Tolentino also announced what the precinct has planned.
“We'll have upwards of 290 additional police officers helping us out plus K9 units, plus counter-terrorism units and a whole slew of other individuals,” Tolentino said. “We're looking forward to a very safe and celebratorial event here to commemorate the Fourth of July.”
Tolentino added that due to recent events of escalated violence in Iraq, police officers have been more cautious. However, he explained that the Fourth of July fireworks are still expected to go off without a hitch.
In addition to the 290 additional units the 84th Precinct will get, the transit police will also have additional officers assigned to it.
The best entry points to the park to see the fireworks are at Pier 1 or at Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street near Pier 6. The BBQs at Pier 5 will be closed that day and the popup pool, soccer fields, volleyball courts and other park amenities will be closed at 4 p.m. that day. The taxi ferry will run tentatively until 5 p.m.
Tolentino urges anyone that lives in the area to carry their IDs with them if they leave their apartment to make it easier to get pass police barricades that may be put up on their blocks.
COP OF THE MONTH
The community council named Officer Jeremy Catania as its Cop of the Month for June for his work in arresting a career-criminal that had been previously arrested 24 times.
“He was on day two of patrol and affected the arrest of a career criminal who has 24 prior arrests for robbery, petit larceny and criminal possession,” Community Council President Leslie Lewis said. “A female victim had a gold chain snatched from her neck in the subway at York and Jay Streets and because of officer Catania’s quick response the perp was arrested.”
The community council had wanted to honor Catania prior to this arrest as he was Philip Hirsch’s partner, who was honored last month for the pair’s involvement in a gunfight at the Farragut Houses earlier this year.
"We wanted to select Jeremy because we selected Phil Hirsch last month, and this arrest gave us the perfect opportunity,” Tolentino said. “Jeremy is a credit to exactly what we expect out of our officers and we knew that it wasn't going to be long until we got the opportunity to honor him as well.”
Crime is up slightly in the 84th Precinct over the last 28 days compared to the same period a year ago with 70 reports versus 66 -- although Tolentino was happy with this month's report as robberies and felony assaults are down slightly and they stopped a string of burglary patterns in the area.
Grand larcenies are down overall for the year from 253 to 248, but over the last 28 days they are up from 37 last year to 48 over the same 28 day period this year. The most significant issue continues to be unattended property
“Grand larceny continues to be our No. 1 priority,” Tolentino said. “If you've been down Fulton Street, you'll see signs alerting people of unattended property, which is the biggest portion of grand larceny. Out of 48 grand larcenies, 27 were unattended property. That's people just putting a purse down or a valuable piece of equipment down, walking away and when they come back it’s gone.”
Six bicycles, valued over $1,000 each, were stolen in the past 28 days and Tolentino stressed that high quality locks are needed to keep people from being victimized. He added that they always need to be secured in a safe location as well.
However, a series of burglaries that had occurred in the precinct has ended. There were problem spots along Hicks Street and State Street that were solved when officers arrested individuals suspected in each area. The third problem spot was at 100 Wyckoff St., where officers are still searching for a perp, but they seem to have put a stop to his activities by having the building owner change the locks.
Accidents are down from 242 last year to 198 this year, but injuries are up slightly from 37 last year to 38 this year. Tolentino attributed much of those to people walking into the streets despite texting on their phones and not paying attention. He also added that the majority of the injuries were minor where the victim refused to go to the hospital after filing a report.
“Mayor de Blasio speaks about Vision Zero and specifically about hazardous violations he wants us targeting… [S]eatbelts, cell phones, texting, failing to yield to pedestrians, improper turns and so on were up 856 vs 552,” Tolentino said. “That’s an increase of 55.1 percent.”
Over the next three weeks the 84th Precinct expects to heavily crackdown on drivers failing to yield to pedestrians.