On Tuesday night (8/27), the Greenpoint Safety Meeting was held at the Polish Slavic Center. The speakers were Assemblyman, Joe Lentol, Captain James Ryan of the 94th Precinct, Executive Assistant District Attorney, Nancy Laxer, Executive in charge of Sex Crimes, Louise Cohen, Chief Assistant DA, Amy Feinstein, and local Council Member, Stephen Levin.
The meeting was organized by local resident, Jamie “James” Hodge, to bring the community together, concerning the rise of crime in Greenpoint. Hodge called the meeting when she learned that her friend had been assaulted in her doorway and had to defend herself against the intruder before the police came to her aid.
More than 100 people attended the meeting. Levin and Captain Ryan extended their thanks to Hodge– the turn-out was significantly higher than expected.
Among the audience were business owners, long-time residents, and neighborhood newcomers. Some were concerned about the recent events, while others were friends of/ victims of home intrusions and other crimes.
Assemblyman, Joe Lentol, addressed the recent 6 arrests for rape made by the 94th Precinct, as well as a proposal for a new bill advocating stricter penalties.
However, many concerned residents wanted more patrol in the area.
Currently there are 4 patrol cars near the 94th Precinct Station, as well as a couple of cars from other police departments. This is due to a decrease of 6,000 police officers since 2002. This decrease could be related to the recent crime spike. Council member, Stephen Levin, said that he is fighting for an increase in funding to provide more officers to the area.
A key part of the discussion was the BRC Assessment Center for homeless men, located at 400 McGuinness Blvd., with some residents also located at 1109 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint Hotel. The community voiced opposition to the opening of the Assessment Center, seeing it as a “revolving door” because of the short-term assessments and immediate check-outs. Many people voiced their opinion that there was an increase in crime ever since the opening of the center.
As a means for more protection, a “Block Watch” was also announced, where volunteers can offer their services, policing their own block, or other blocks. The NYPD has approved this program, as of 8/29, according to CBS Local.
Another safety measure, The Brooklyn Bike Patrol offers services to make residents feel safe, as they travel through various Brooklyn neighborhoods in the evening hours, 7 days a week. Hours of operation are: Sunday – Thursday (8 PM – 12 AM) and Friday and Saturday (8 PM – 4 AM).
One woman spoke about a recent incident, when she heard screaming outside her home at 1 AM. She took a risk and yelled from her window ,”GET OUT!” and the two men who were trying to rob the victim, a young male walking home, ran away.
Captain James Ryan reminded everyone to take immediate action to call 911, should they hear or witness any suspicious activity.
The next 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting will take place on October 2 at 7 PM at Church of the Ascension (122 Java Street).