If they want to see more of the green that comes from happy, secure customers, Avenue D merchants feel they should see more NYPD blue first.
During a recent meeting with Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues, the new commanding officer of the 67th Precinct, about 25 merchants of the East Flatbush shopping strip explained that they would like to see more cops on the beat.
“There definitely should be more visibility on Avenue D, especially after 6 p.m. when the business owners are closing up,” said Terrance LaPierre, the president of the Avenue D Merchants Association. “It would be nice to see someone out there both in the morning and the evening.”
Merchants also asked Pegues to take a more active role with the neighborhood’s youth. With nothing else to do, there are far too many kids just hanging out on the avenue, making mischief, they said.
But, instead of corralling the kids into a holding pen, merchants said that they would like to see the police come to area teens with an olive branch first.
“A lot of the kids today are a little afraid of the cops,” LaPierre noted. “If they [the cops] can walk by the kids and smile — maybe get them on the side — that would play an important part in bringing down crime.”
The surge of traffic accidents on Utica Avenue and Avenue D also topped the agenda in the first meet and greet with Pegues, who, in turn, explained his “open-door policy” to both merchants and residents living in the confines of the 67th Precinct.
“Reducing crime is my main priority, but only by embracing the community can I bridge that gap,” Pegues said. “I’m totally committed to CPR (Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect). It’s not just an NYPD motto, it’s what I was brought up on.”
Pegues said that the 67th Precinct just recently received 12 new officers. Currently, all of them have been allocated to the East 90s, where several shootings have occurred in recent weeks.
“We want an omnipresence in that area as the night goes on,” he explained.
When the violence ends in that area, the new officers could see themselves going to other areas such as Avenue D, explained Pegues, who is the 67th Precinct’s first African-American commanding officer.
Members of the Merchants Association took Pegues at his word.
“He gave a good impression,” LaPierre said after the meeting. “He wants to get involved with the youth.”
“Most importantly, he’s from the ghettos of East New York,” LaPierre added. “He knows what’s important in communities like ours.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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