By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Crime has been down in the 13th Precinct in the last month and is also down overall for the year, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, the commanding officer of the precinct, told neighborhood residents on Tuesday.
Ehrenberg, who was discussing local crime stats at the most recent meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council, said that the 12 percent decrease is partially due to a decrease in grand larcenies, burglaries and robberies, but the latter two crimes have continued to pose a problem throughout the year.
“Robberies and burglaries are the key numbers to look out for,” he said, adding that felony assaults are also up this month.
He noted, though, as he has mentioned at meetings in the past, that the assaults aren’t much of a concern for the precinct since those numbers are primarily due to the hospitals in the area and the fact that officers are sometimes injured by people there who are resisting arrest, rather than random assaults on the streets.
Addressing a recent increase in assaults by delivery men, including an alleged attempted rape in Stuyvesant Town by a deli worker, the deputy inspector warned residents to take precautions when food is brought up to their apartments. He added that letting someone inside also gives them access to and knowledge of valuables that might be sitting out.
“There’s no reason to let people see what you have in there,” he said.
Like in a number of previous meetings, Ehrenberg made note of the surprising number of people who are victims of preventable crimes, like theft of unattended property.
“Pocketbooks on the backs of chairs and laptops left out unattended are being stolen. Leaving these things out in the open like that, you’re asking opportunists to come out and take it,” he said. “It’s easier to prevent this kind of crime than it is to do an investigation and solve it.”
He added that especially with the holiday season coming up, residents should be mindful of what they leave out and visible in their cars.
“Even if you went shopping and you’re just running into a restaurant to grab a quick bite, don’t,” Ehrenberg said. “We make collars on this kind of crime all the time but after we get them there are 20 more out there. We can’t stop that; it’s too many people.”
At one point the conversation turned to the annual SantaCon pub crawl, which is scheduled for December 13. The event has often been the bane of neighborhood residents where the crawl takes place due to public drunkenness by countless Santas and the deluge of vomit and public urination that usually comes with it. Inspector Ehrenberg, however, said that the precinct isn’t concerned about any problems with the event this year because aside from a group of brawling Santas whose fight was broadcast on YouTube, the weekend of the event last year was not especially problematic.
“We’re not expecting any issues (with SantaCon) this year,” he said. “Last year we put extra cops out and we’re going to have extra police for it this year, but I don’t think there will be any problems.”
The crawl typically starts somewhere in Manhattan, then makes its way to Brooklyn, though the route isn’t announced until shortly before the event. It was recently reported by Gothamist that the crawl was headed to Bushwick this year, but those plans have since been scrapped, amNY reported, and it remains to be seen where it may head.
Ehrenberg then honored two plainclothes police officers with the Cop of the Month award for their work that led to the capture of two gunmen last month. As Town & Village reported on the incident in October, a man was stopped in a rental car because police suspected that he was in possession of fraudulent credit cards. He and the other man in the car were found to be in possession of two loaded .40 caliber guns. Ehrenberg praised the officers’ work in tracking the men down.
“We have people around here in possession of guns like elsewhere in the city but thankfully we don’t have shootings like in other commands because of the work that these guys do,” he said.
Ehrenberg also noted at the meeting that as of this past Monday, the precinct is online. The precinct started tweeting under the handle @NYPD13PCT.
“A lot of us are new to the Twitter thing but it’s a learning curve,” Ehrenberg said. He added that residents are still better off calling community affairs at (212) 477-7406 or 311 about quality of life issues.