By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Just one day after the bombings in Boston, police captain Maximo Tolentino held a moment of silence during Tuesday night's 84th Precinct Community Council meeting for those affected by the tragedy. He also used that time to remind everyone that while police officers put forth a great effort to protect us, sometimes they need help from the citizens they protect to do their jobs as best they can.
“Every once in a while we need a rude awakening,” Tolentino said. “It's extremely sad what happened in Boston, but it's a reminder that we need to be vigilant of what happens around us. It's not just a cliché - if you see something, please say something. Sometimes it's the only way we can find out what's going on.
“Even if we get 100 bad calls, that's just 100 times we get to practice how we would handle an emergency situation.”
Tolentino explained that the NYPD has been on heightened alert, especially at the bridges, hotels, and other critical locations like Times Square. Police will remain on heightened alert at least until they catch the culprit who committed the heinous act of terrorism in Boston.
Tolentino also held a moment of silence for Martha Atwater, the Brooklyn Heights who died in February after being hit by a car while on the sidewalk.
There will be a speed sign in place at the Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Street intersection where Atwater was struck. The sign will display drivers' speed while moving westbound on Atlantic Avenue.
Tolentino's mention of the Atwater tragedy transitioned into a discussion of traffic in the neighborhood. Accidents are down 25 percent (204 vs. 152) compared to this time last year. Accidents involving injuries are down 37 percent (27 vs. 43), and accidents involving pedestrians are down 72 percent (3 vs. 11).
Crime continues to drop in the 84th Precinct area. Over the last 28 days, it's down 22.3 percent compared to the same period last year. Assaults are down from 16 to just nine this year. Of those nine assaults, six were arrested.
Grand larceny remains the biggest problem, but Tolentino explained that the majority of these incidences involved unattended property being taken. He explained that gym lockers are a big target and that the 84th Precinct has worked with the area's Planet Fitness to install cameras. The Precinct will monitor the results, and if they see an improvement - which is what they expect - they will work with other gyms in the area to install cameras as well.
There has been recent rash of car break-ins in DUMBO where eight cars were broken into one week and five another, but the police arrested Keiren Cross - who was suspected to have been involved in many of the car robberies - and the problem seems to have gone away.
“This was an incidence where the suspect had been out of jail for just one week and it appeared he went right back to doing what landed him in jail in the first place,” Tolentino said. “When we found him he went running away, [but when] officers called out his name he surrendered.
“We hope he'll stay in jail longer this time.”
CITI BIKE SHARE
Captain Tolentino didn't say much about the Bike Share program that is set to launch in May, but he did explain that his team will pay special attention to the program's implications on safety and quality of life. He reminded everyone that police will be giving out tickets to those not following the rules while riding.
Tolentino also recommended that everyone wear a helmet while riding. There will be a free bike helmet event sponsored by Council Member Letitia James at Commodore Barry Park on Sunday, April 21 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
COP OF THE MONTH
Officer Mike Titterton was named Cop of the Month by the Precinct Community Council for his role in arresting two teens, ages 14 and 15, for simulating a handgun and robbing people in the 84th Precinct district.
Officer Titterton is originally from Garden City out in Long Island. He said he became a cop because it “runs in the family” with his father and younger brother also serving as police officers.
Officer Titterton also explained that while crime is down in the 84th Precinct, dealing with the kids in the area schools can be difficult because they come from all over Brooklyn to go to school in Brooklyn Heights.
“It's not easy when it comes to dealing with the kids, and these two were particularly dangerous. Officer Titterton did a great job arresting them without incident,” Tolentino said. “We're extremely proud to see him recognized for his effort.”