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When it comes to fighting crime, Captain Anthony Tazzo plans to sweat the small stuff.
“It’s just not about major crimes, it’s about the lesser crimes that some precincts that have a lot of violent crimes don’t focus on,” Tazzo told this paper Wednesday. “They’re just as important. That’s why I’m going to be looking over every crime report.”
Tazzo, who comes to the 88th Precinct in Fort Greene from the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, said that as soon as he landed two weeks ago, he noticed an inordinate amount of car break-ins.
“[Car break-ins] are considered minor crime, but it’s important to the people who have had their car broken into,” he said. “Even if nothing is taken, it’s a big deal because the car owner’s window is broken and now they have to pay to get it replaced.”
“I’m looking to address every complaint and try to do the best as I can as I utilize my resources to tackle the major crimes,” he said as he focuses on walking the tightrope between crime statistics and a neighborhood belief that violence in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill is on the rise.
Tazzo’s predecessor, Inspector Philip Sferrazza, retired earlier this month amid complaints that violent muggings in the Fort Greene and Clinton Hill were on the rise.
But cops from the 88th Precinct said that Sferrazza’s retirement was planed long before the complaints, which got the attention of the New York Times, surfaced.
The Times article, which quotes City Councilmember Letitia James as saying “People are feeling less secure in the brownstone belt,” was blown out of proportion, they said.
Neighborhood crime statistics confirm that robberies in the 88th Precinct have risen by nearly 22 percent as of July 13.
Yet change seems to already be on the horizon. Between July 7 and July 13, the number of robberies dropped from three in 2007 to one this year, officials said.
Statistics show that the number of violent crimes in the area has also dropped. Felony assaults, officials said, were down by 31 percent as of July 13, officials said.
But to Tazzo, the 22 percent increase is not about how high the robbery rate has jumped, but rather a testament to the great job Sferrazza and the rest of the 88th Precinct did in reducing crime last year.
“If you compare this year’s robberies to those that occurred in 2006, you’ll notice that we’re down by 12 percent,” he said. “The numbers are skewed, but that’s just an indicator of Sferrazza’s success last year.”
Tazzo, a Brooklyn native, began his career with the NYPD nearly fifteen years ago. His first assignment was walking the beat in Coney Island, he remembered.
Since being promoted to captain, Tazzo has held executive officer positions in the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn Heights, where he worked with Sferrazza, the 90th Precinct in Williamsburg and the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville.
As he gets the lay of he land, Tazzo said he is pleasantly surprised by Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.
“It looks like a wonderful neighborhood,” he said. “I look forward to working here.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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