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By Stephen Witt
The crime spike plaguing western Coney Island is beginning to come down thanks in part to the hardworking 60th Precinct anti-crime team.
The latest evidence of this crackerjack plainclothes unit was a gun collar, which earned two of its officers, Richard Vargas and Michael Giudice, “Cop of the Month” certificates.
The incident unfolded on September 24, when the crime-fighting duo received an anonymous phone call of a male with a gun at the bus stop on West 24th Street and Surf Avenue.
Upon arrival, Vargas and Giudice approached the individual matching the description, made the arrest and recovered a .22-caliber handgun in the process.
The arrest came in the precinct’s Impact Zone, which was instituted last spring to curb the spike of violent crime between Surf and Mermaid Avenues, and between West 24th and West 36th Streets.
An Impact Zone is an area of a precinct with added manpower due to an upsurge in crime. Police said 32 officers, three sergeants and one lieutenant have been moved into this impact zone within the 60th precinct.
“Flooding the area with cops every day is making the area better and we’re trying to make sure to get the guns off the street,” said Vargas.
Vargas said the precinct has two anti-crime teams, who often do an entire investigation from beginning surveillance to making arrests.
“We’re out on street and if we see anything that doesn’t look right, we contact the other team and start a surveillance, and if everything works out in the investigation, we affect an arrest,” said Vargas.
Giudice said he joined the NYPD to follow in his older brother’s footsteps, “He is about to retire soon. I’m coming up on 12 years and he’s on 20 years,” said Giudice.
Giudice said he has also been in the SNEU (Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit) and a conditions unit before getting into the anti-crime unit.
“I just love it because I like getting the violent perps off the street,” said Giudice, who grew up in the area of Court and Sackett streets in Downtown Brooklyn.
The bust comes as major felony crime is down 15 percent for the year within the precinct’s jurisdiction.
Leading the reduction is robbery, which is down nearly 38 percent with 191 reported incidents so far in 2009 as compared to 264 at this time last year.
Murder, however, remains up 100 percent with 10 reported homicides so far this year as compared to five at this time in 2008.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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