By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The main concern for most of the people attending the 13th Precinct’s community council meeting this past Tuesday evening was the attempted rape of a 20-year-old Stuyvesant Town resident last Friday. As Town & Village’s blog reported on Monday, 26-year-old Juan Scott was arrested in connection with the incident.
The main point of contention for many at the meeting, however, was the lack of communication to ST/PCV residents about the incident. ST-PCV Tenants Association president John Marsh and TA chair Susan Steinberg were at the meeting along with a number of other Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents trying to find out why management had not notified residents of what had happened.
Captain Steven Hellman, who was leading the meeting, said that he couldn’t speak to management’s relationship with the tenants but noted that the open communication the NYPD had with CWCapital and Council Member Dan Garodnick’s office helped facilitate Scott’s capture.
Still, a number of residents continued to express frustration at the lack of notices posted around the complex that could have served as a warning. Marsh added that there also used to be a much closer relationship between the NYPD, Public Safety and the tenants. “
With the large turnover in population, the young people who have been moving in are not as aware of these kinds of things,” he said. “There is a distance that has been created from the turnover but we’d like to see more safety awareness and we’d like to work with community affairs.”
While Hellman reiterated that he couldn’t comment on the relationship between the tenants and the owner, and noted that “the ink didn’t even have time to dry” on the flyers because Scott was arrested so quickly, he said that he understood the need for disseminating the information to residents and would try to work with Public Safety on communication with tenants in the future.
He also admitted that being relatively new in the precinct, he isn’t as familiar with how things work between tenants and CWCapital and asked if there was ever any kind of forum for airing grievances, somewhat like a community council meeting but for ST/PCV tenant issues. When tenants at the meeting laughed at the idea and responded that there wasn’t, he suggested that they start it up now.
“Let’s be pioneers!” he said jokingly.
Hellman also praised officers’ quick and efficient police work that led to Scott’s apparent encampment on East 13th Street, fingerprint evidence that connected him to the alleged crime and his arrest less than 48 hours after it occurred.
In addition to this incident, a major one for the precinct, Hellman said that crime was up in general in the last month, by 4.7 percent, although he noted that crime was down for the year by 1.1 percent. Grand larceny, historically a problem for the precinct, was down 12 percent for the month and is down 8 percent for the year, but there has been a spike in burglaries, with 23 in the last month compared to nine in the same period last year.
“It sounds like a big number but we did have one good arrest,” noted Hellman. He said that career criminal Benjamin Guadalupe was recently arrested after he was caught breaking into an apartment. Guadalupe was allegedly involved in four different break-ins and Hellman made a point of noting that in three of those cases, the windows of the apartments weren’t locked, making it easier for Guadalupe to get inside and snag some expensive jewelry.
“It’s career criminals who are taking advantage of these crimes of opportunity,” Hellman said. “It’s very important to lock doors and windows. He doesn’t have incidences of extreme violence, but he is a bad guy.” Hellman noted that it’s still important to catch thieves in the act because even in cases where there is no violence involved, it’s possible that the people involved are violent criminals.
He pointed to a recent incident on October 8 in which two men were arrested by trying to make purchases at a New Balance with a fraudulent credit card and they were in possession of two semi-automatic guns. Both men are currently in jail and one of them had previously served time for murder.
Felony assaults also increased slightly in the past month but as Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg has mentioned in previous meetings, these numbers are primarily due to the hospitals in the precinct and EMS workers being hit while treating patients, and Captain Hellman said that the recent increase is not much of a concern.