76th Precinct captain: robberies up 100 percent

March 6, 2013 Heather Chin
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The number of robberies in Carroll Gardens and Red Hook between January 1 and March 3 went up 100 percent compared to the same period last year, Captain Jeffrey Schiff told residents at the March 5th meeting of the 76th Precinct Community Council.

The dramatic uptick — 26 versus 13 robbery reports — was the result, Schiff said, of both ongoing cell phone thefts/demand and crimes of opportunity.

14 of the 26 robberies occurred in the area between Wyckoff and Union Streets to the south and north, and Smith Street and the Gowanus to the west and east; the suspects typically worked in groups of two to four males to target take-out food delivery workers. Unlike other common robbery ploys in the city, the suspects weren’t making fake delivery orders; they simply saw deliverymen making their rounds and took advantage of the opportunity to make a quick buck, said Schiff.

Similarly, 17 of the 26 incidents involved stolen cell phones; 13 of the 17 stolen phones were iPhones, and 11 of the 13 did not have the iCloud phone-tracking app. The two phones that did have the tracker were able to be recovered, and arrests were made.

In total, said Schiff, 17 arrests were made in the spate of robberies.

Also of note is the fact that cell phone robberies usually spike on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which are the days when the thieves may need extra cash for weekend partying, Schiff explained.

On a longer-term scale, the arrest-breakdown for robberies since January 1 of 2012 — last year — also shows a youth problem.

Out of 79 robbery arrests between January 1, 2012 and March 3, 2013:

  • 53 were “homegrown” within a one to two block radius of area housing developments in Red Hook and Gowanus;
  • most of the remaining 26 have family or friends in the neighborhood;
  • 17 had a previous record;
  • 17 occurred in 2013;
  • 39 are between the ages of 11 and 19.

With the youth issue in mind, Schiff said that the 76th Precinct will be referring more truants to the Red Hook Community Justice Center’s (RHJC) Youth Courts program — a peer-to-peer conflict resolution and remediation program run by RHJC — in the hopes of preventing both crimes and the flow of youth into the juvenile justice system. Youth with existing bench warrants may also be referred to the RHJC.

Domestic incidents 

This year has also seen an increase in both felony and misdemeanor reports of domestic assaults compared to last year: 52 felonies and 319 misdemeanors so far this year, with 11 domestic warrants for the last 28 days.

Schiff said that an additional officer has been added to the precinct’s Domestic Violence Unit. According to NYPD data, police respond to “upwards of 250,000 domestic incidents annually” citywide, or around 600 calls per day.


Schiff also mentioned the arrest of 17 people for dealing and manufacturing in drugs in Red Hook, as part of Phase 2 of an eight-month investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Major Narcotics Investigation Bureau and the NYPD’s Brooklyn South Narcotics Unit.


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