The 70th Precinct’s newest top cop can expect to stay busy in his latest post.
Last Monday, Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, former commanding officer of the 68th Precinct, started his new job of deploying officers across a sprawling command that includes Flatbush, Midwood and Kensington.
Rodriguez, 43, led the 68th Precinct since 2006.
Before that, the Staten Island resident was commanding officer of Transit District 3 in Manhattan and was the executive officer of the Ninth Precinct, covering the East Village and Alphabet City in Manhattan.
Compared with the 70th Precinct, Rodriguez’s alma mater is a quieter quarter. There have been only 390 crime complaints there so far this year in Bay Ridge’s precinct, as opposed to 916 in the 70th Precinct.
“It is going to be a bigger command,” said Rodriguez. “I also have more police officers here.”
“I’ve known Ralph for many, many years. We’ve known each other before we became COs,” Rodriguez said. “He was a great commanding officer. I’m looking at putting my spin on things out here, too.”
The precinct still has a long way to go.
“There are still some pockets of criminal activity ongoing in the precinct and those have to be addressed,” said Ed Powell, president of the 70th Precinct’s Community Council.
Crime has dropped 45 percent overall in the 70th Precinct over the last 10 years, but there have been six murders in 2011, up from five this time last year.
Crime has tended to be most severe in isolated pockets in the northern end of the precinct near the Parade Grounds — especially in spots like East 21st Street, Tennis Court between East 18th Street and Ocean Avenue and Woodruff Avenue east of the Parade Grounds.
“These are chronic crime locations. It’s not like this started a year ago. These areas have been a problem for many years,” said Powell.
Monteforte had been attacking crime in the precinct by flooding afflicted areas with a high number of cops — going for impact rather than trying to sweep the whole neighborhood, he said.
“It sends a message to the bad guys that you just can’t do it with impunity anymore,” said Powell. “It sort of breaks up the nest of criminal activity.”
Rodriguez was noncommittal about his plans to tackle crime, saying he would start by meeting with community leaders, other cops and his predecessor. But he said he is up to the job.
While the crime rate in Bay Ridge evoke a sleepy hamlet, that wasn’t always the case, he said.
“When I first got [to the 68th Precinct], there were 1,450 crimes there my first year. The six-eight had five murders,” he said. “I will be out there. I’m a very proactive person.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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