By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Attendance at the first 13th Precinct Community Council meeting of 2016 was surprisingly high considering the event was on Tuesday, a bitterly cold evening.
But residents who live on First Avenue at East 18th Street above Visana, the relatively new pizza place that becomes a lounge at night, were motivated by what they complained is excess noise.
There have already been a couple of community council meetings in recent months to complain about the noise from this space. One resident was at the meeting this week with similar complaints, noting that on one recent evening, it was particularly loud because a party bus was parked in front of the establishment.
Owner David Jaffee, who has said previously that he wants to work with the community to resolve any ongoing issues, was at the meeting and said that this was the first time that there has been a party bus parked outside the business. Jaffee argued that he and his business partner are responsive to residents in the area but he noted that the resident who was at the meeting never reached out to him at the time to complain about the issue.
“We try to be proactive,” he said. “I went outside and spoke to the driver but the driver refused to move.”
But the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, who has held meetings with Jaffee on this issue in the past, wasn’t satisfied with the owner’s attempts to mitigate the noise problems.
“If the driver refuses to move, you contact us and we will deal with the situation,” he said. “You were making money off this bus and you left it there. People live in this neighborhood. We’re going to have another meeting and there will be repercussions.”
Since this was the first meeting of the New Year, Timoney offered a rundown of how the precinct fared in 2015. Timoney noted that only three precincts in the borough had a decrease in crime last year, of which the 13th was one, although he admitted that it was only a one percent decrease.
Some of the issues the precinct had last year were with assaults. Timoney noted that a number of these felony assaults were due to domestic violence incidents because strangulation is now considered a felony. There were also increases in robbery, specifically a number of incidents of “shoplifting gone bad,” Timoney said, in which store employees confronted shoplifters, resulting in fights.
Burglaries were down in 2015 but Timoney noted that the precinct was having less luck with the crime so far this year.
“We had a very successful year for burglaries in 2015 but so far 2016 has not been as successful,” he said, noting that the year so far has seen a more than 100 percent increase in burglaries. One of the spikes for burglary in the last 28 day period, which includes the last week of December, seems to have occurred around the holidays when many residents were away on vacation and Timoney said one reason is that residents are still leaving their windows opened or unlocked, giving burglars easy access.
Robberies have also increased so far this year and Timoney advised that residents be especially mindful in the coming months because tax season is coming up because and seniors are often the targets for tax scams.
Town & Village recently reported on a phone scam in which residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village received recorded messages from callers pretending to be from the IRS and demanding to be called back.
On this scam, Timoney said, “You’ll get calls saying it’s the IRS and you need to pay or you’ll get arrested. Believe me, you won’t get arrested. If you do, I’ll come bail you out.”
In related news, new Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk and Public Safety Chief Bill McClellan showed up to Tuesday night’s meeting.
While there, Hayduk said he was looking forward to working with the precinct on safety issues.