ASK THE DA: Help can be found at Neighborhood Offices

August 16, 2013 Charles J. Hynes
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My neighbor who is a senior citizen and is alone needs help with managing her affairs. A group of us are concerned that she needs help with managing her daily life and financial interests. Can you recommend where we can go for assistance?

 

In a prior column, I wrote about a similar case involving a woman who came into one of my “Neighborhood Offices” for help. The “Neighborhood Office” is the DA’s office in your neighborhood.

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These offices allow Brooklyn residents access to the DA’s office and services without having to travel to my central office in downtown Brooklyn.  Each neighborhood office is open one or two days a week and staffed by trained counselors who offer assistance to visitors on a variety of issues such as family violence, drug or gang activity, prostitution, burglary or robbery, gangs, identity theft, fraudulent loans and other frauds, and even landlord-tenant disputes.

You can walk in and talk about issues such as keeping your child in school, protecting seniors and immigrant safety.

When a complaint is civil in nature, counselors will refer the visitor to the appropriate government or private organization where they can seek to resolve their concern. When a complaint is criminal, appropriate referrals are made to the police department or bureaus within my office.

Thanks to the generosity of community organizations that have lent us their space, we have been able to enhance our ability to reach out to crime victims.

Many are hesitant to come to large, impersonal government offices to share their concerns, and feel more comfortable doing so in the more familiar and informal setting of their own neighborhood.

Neighborhood Offices have also provided a safe haven for immigrants to come forward and report crimes committed against them.

The Neighborhood Offices are an important tool in our efforts to fight and prevent crime. By being out in the community, my office has learned much more about problems facing our neighbors like predatory lending and abuse against the elderly. Armed with this information, my staff has been able to educate the public on how to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

Just a few weeks ago I announced the opening of a new neighborhood office in Dyker Heights located at the offices of the NIA Community Services Network at 6614 11th Avenue. To find the location of the neighborhood offices nearest you, call our hotline at 718-250-2555.

To view a You Tube video of the recent opening of the Neighborhood Office in Dyker Heights, go to the following link:  http://youtu.be/TEzx31pMxMg.


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