Dyker Heights

Dyker Heights Civic Association forming crime watch group

November 14, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The new crime watch program will give residents a chance to look out for their neighbors, according to Dyker Heights Civic Association President Fran Vella-Marrone. The photo dhows a quiet block on 10th Avenue. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas

The residents of Dyker Heights are preparing to take an active role in their own safety.

The Dyker Heights Civic Association announced plans to form a new community crime-watch program to empower residents to keep an eye on suspicions comings and goings in the neighborhood.

The new initiative, which will be called the Dyker Heights Crime Watch, was announced by Civic Association President Fran Vella-Marrone in a Nov. 11 letter to the association’s members.

“It is a neighborhood watch program, but not the type where people are on patrol,” Vella-Marrone wrote.

Instead, members will be asked to become the eyes and ears of Dyker Heights and share their observations with other members.

“This program will allow us to share things that are happening in the neighborhood, with deterrence being our ultimate goal. It will be a great way to share information with each other and ultimately with the police precinct if necessary,” Vella-Marrone said.

The formation of the new crime-watch program was scheduled to be a topic of discussion at the Civic Association’s monthly meeting on Nov. 14.

The boundaries of Dyker Heights run roughly from Seventh Avenue to 14th Avenue, between 65th and 86th streets.

The neighborhood falls under the jurisdiction of the 68th Police Precinct.

In her letter, Vella-Marrone revealed her motives for forming the crime watch.

“As we all know, Dyker Heights is a wonderful community. However, this does not mean that we do not have any crime or any quality-of-life issues. I get complaints all the time about various issues including people lurking on certain blocks, people hanging out and possibly doing/selling drugs and people checking out the contents of parked cars,” she wrote.

The mere mention of an active neighborhood crime watch endeavor might be enough to scare off any criminals, according to Vella-Marrone.

“Just think that if there were signs in windows and on lawns stating the formation of such a group, letting others know that we are watching, people might think twice about hanging out on these blocks,” she wrote.

The formation of the community crime watch comes at a time when Dyker Heights has been in the news.

On Nov. 9, two people were killed in a two-alarm fire that ripped through a three-story apartment building at 6709 11th Ave. The fire also left several other people injured, according to authorities.

A 22-year-old woman who lives in the building was arrested and charged with arson after she allegedly started the fire after becoming incensed over litter in the hallway.

Dyker Heights is also bound to be in the news next month when the dazzling and controversial Christmas Lights Display takes place.

Civic Association leaders and Community Board 10 are working together to try and take tighter control over the famous Christmas Lights Display that attracts thousands of tourists to the neighborhood each December.

A request made by the community board to bring the festivities under the purview of the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) was knocked down by the city, which refused to grant a permit.

The community board had hoped that a permit would bring a sense of order to the often chaotic traffic tie-ups that take place every year when thousands of tourists descend on Dyker Heights to view the dazzling Christmas decorations put up by homeowners in the neighborhood.

The delightful giant Santas, snowmen, angels, reindeer and cartoon characters are fun to gawk at, but the holiday extravaganza is nerve-wracking to Dyker Heights residents, according to Josephine Beckmann, the community board’s district manager.

A SAPO permit would have officially categorized the Dyker Christmas Lights Display as a street activity, thereby bringing it under closer supervision by the city.

“The bottom line is that we need more resources in the community to handle all of the traffic coming through. It gets so bad sometimes that residents can’t get out of their own driveways,” Beckmann told the Brooklyn Eagle.

The Christmas Lights Display can be found in front of private homes in the area from 11th to 14th avenues and between 82nd and 86th streets.

NYPD officials told Beckmann that assigning additional cops to the Dyker Heights area during the Christmas Lights Display would help alleviate some of the traffic concerns.