Underage hot wheelers in Gerritsen Beach beware – the cops just might be coming to your house.
According to 61st Precinct Captain George Mastrokostas, pursuit guidelines have thus far prohibited cops from going after kids illegally zipping up and down neighborhood streets on their all-terrain vehicles [ATVs] and dirt bikes – so last week he suggested residents start giving up names and addresses.
Fed up neighbors took their complaints directly to the precinct commander at State Senator Martin Golden’s town hall safety meeting held at the Cort Club on Gerritsen Avenue.
A family emergency called the state senator away from his own meeting but both Captain Mastrokostas and Deputy Inspector Vincent Cangiarella of the 63rd Precinct stuck around – along with representatives from the Department of Transportation and Department of Buildings – to face residents’ complaints.
“They’re going on city streets and it’s got to be stopped,” one angry resident said of the underage drivers.
But Mastrokostas explained why residents haven’t seen and will not see his cops chasing after brazen kids who simply take off on their ATVs and dirt bikes when police approach.
“If they get hurt or killed everybody is going to blame the police,” he said.
Instead, the captain recommended a proactive approach and urged residents to provide cops with the addresses of minors illegally operating ATVs and dirt bikes.
According to Mastrokostas, the first step would be to have a talk with the children’s parents – if that didn’t work, the captain said that cops could “sit outside their house” and wait to catch kids kick-starting their vehicles.
Community Board 15 member Cathy Blundell urged the captain to go even further and ask social services to get involved and make an example of offenders.
“This is a life threatening situation,” she stressed.
In addition to the ATVs and dirt bikes, Blundell also complained that children as young as 10 years old are also launching jet skis around local waterways.
Spilling over into his precinct, Cangiarella said that the harbor patrol would be alerted and that the 63rd and 61st Precincts would address the underage jet skiers jointly.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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