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The Partnership of Cops and Community Adds Up to Safer Streets

Ask Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, and he’ll tell you that the success of the 68th Precinct in fighting crime and averting problems in the neighborhood has as much to do with the residents of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights as it does with the cops.

A better group of police officers you won’t find, Rodriguez avers. Nonetheless, the level of cooperation that exists between community and cops leads to more arrests, Rodriguez contends. This cooperation isn’t simply the occasional phoned-in tip, or the whispered aside at a community meeting.

Rather, the email system set up by the precinct’s community council is credited with aiding the precinct in numerous ways, as a quick and efficient channel by which to send out a plethora of notices, from tips on how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim to alerts on scams and perpetrators on the loose.

“It’s an important part of the success we’ve had over the year,” Rodriguez said during the November meeting of the 68th Precinct Community Council, crediting the “eyes and ears that are out there,” and “the constant complaints” with helping the precinct target its efforts.

While even one crime is one too many, as Rodriguez will attest, the precinct is down 24.36 percent, year to date, in the seven major crime categories. And, all of them, with the exception of murder, show decreases ranging from 4.7 percent (grand larceny) to 44.3 percent (burglary), as of November 22nd, according to CompStat.

The overall drop in crime in the precinct is ,“A phenomenal number, if you take into account that, two years ago, we were down 16.6 percent and last year we were down another five percent.

“This whole year, we’ve been in the top four. We’re probably the only command that hasn’t had an increase that has as big a decrease this year,” Rodriguez told the group gathered in the station house, 333 65th Street.

According to the crime tracking system employed by the NYPD, there have been 172 burglaries in the precinct, year to date, compared to 309 at this time last year. “That’s because of the cooperation in the neighborhood,” Rodriguez averred.

As for grand larcenies, there have been 322 so far in 2009, compared to 338 at this point in 2008.

With respect to the other crime categories, felonious assaults in the precinct are down 31.2 percent, with 66 so far in 2009 compared to 96 at this time in 2008. Robberies are down 30.5 percent, with 98 so far this year, compared to 141 at this time last year. Rapes are down 22.2 percent. While there were nine at this point in 2008, there have been seven so far in 2009. Incidents of grand larceny auto are also down, 18.7 percent, with 135 so far this year, compared to 166 at this time last year.

As for murder, there has been one so far this year within the confines of the precinct, up from last year’s zero murders, according to CompStat.

“We have been very, very successful in the last year,” Rodriguez acknowledged. “The violence is almost non-existent in the neighborhood at times.

“No complaint in this neighborhood goes unnoticed,” he said.

There has been a great deal of “proactive police work,” Rodriguez added, telling his listeners that “arrests are up over 30 percent. We’ve had more arrests this year than we did since CompStat started.”

In addition, he said, the number of quality-of-life summonses for such infractions as drinking or urinating in public is also up22 percent.

Looking ahead, Rodriguez said that the precinct would have “our work cut out for us next year.” Why? Because the 2010 statistics will be “compared with this year’s numbers.”

So, what approach will the precinct take? “We’re just going to continue doing what we’re doing, since it works,” Rodriguez concluded.

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