72nd Precinct council meets in Chinatown for first time

November 21, 2011 Heather Chin
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The 72nd Precinct Community Council changed locations for itsNovember meeting, from the usual Marien Heim senior center at 4520Fourth Avenue to the office of the Brooklyn Chinese ImprovementAssociation (BCIA) at 720 57th Street.

But this wasn’t an effort by the council to confuse regularmembers; rather, it was an outreach effort to communities andresidents in different stretches of Sunset Park, Greenwood Heights,Windsor Terrace and, this month, Brooklyn’s Chinatown, which ispart of the nation’s fastest-growing Chinese-Americanpopulation.

The idea of neighborhood-hopping was a long time coming, saidDeputy Inspector Raul Pintos, who described going to the heart ofthe community as one of his goals since starting at the 72ndPrecinct in 2008.

According to Denny Chen, a community liaison with the council -an all-volunteer committee of residents who help build a bridgebetween residents and the cops – the thinking behind moving aroundis to let people understand what we do in the council and to knowhow to get help through the precinct. We want to make things goeasier, to solve problems right there [at the meeting] withoutgoing to 3-1-1. That is the hope.

The Chinese American community was among the first to receivethat meeting outreach – the first was a Windsor Terrace meeting toupdate residents on the recent ongoing string of sexual assaults -because the Chinese don’t often come out and get involved, butthey really need it to know what they can do, explained Chen.

There is currently no schedule set for additional locationchanges, but the council will consider going wherever an areaorganization can donate a building space to use.

The nonprofit BCIA accepted the council’s request for spacebecause they want all the Asians to join in and have a betterrelationship [with local police], said BCIA Director Rosita Chen.We want them to focus more on security issues, especially on theholidays [like Lunar New Year]. A lot of people hang out and wewant safety.

Safety was on the mind of everyone at the Tuesday, November 15meeting, at which Pintos announced that there had been no newattempted or successful sexual assaults that fit the pattern thathas plagued the neighborhood for months, and that the NYPD haswithdrawn some resources from the area to address other majorcrimes in the city.

The 72nd Precinct’s mobile unit regarding the sexual assaultinvestigation has been moved from Prospect Avenue down to FifthAvenue and 48th Street.

There was also a reduction in robberies since a double-digitspike occurred this summer, and a decrease in shootings andhomicides compared to this time last year, said Pintos. However,there has been an increase in grand larcenies, mostly throughidentity theft, and an increase in robberies of unattended pursesalong Fifth Avenue, particularly from baby strollers.

Pintos promised that the precinct would again dispatch a policetruck along Eighth Avenue in January/February of next year in orderto combat robberies during and after the Lunar New Year.

The next meeting of the 72nd Precinct Community Council will beon Tuesday, December 13, at Marien Heim. For more information, call718-965-6326.


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