Thanks to Angel and Dynishal for a great meeting last night in the lobby of 40 Lincoln Road in the "LEFFERTS" neighborhood. Sgt Falk, who heads the "quality of life" unit, introduced longtime and newly assigned members of the group. These guys (and gal) are responsible for knowing the businesses and buildings in our neighborhood intimately. Much of the discussion centered around efforts at 40 Lincoln to rid the building of nuisances created by residents and non-residents alike, from smoking weed and drinking and carrying-on til all hours in the halls, to (crazy story here) a pervy peeping Tom who used to hang out on the fire-escape and do all manner of unseemly things up there, to domestic violence issues and more. One moment of heated debate came up when the cops were asked to be sure not to "harass" the tenants, or make needless stops, while doing their in-the-building patrols. The police were visibly upset at this suggestion, trying to describe how it feels on their side when they are called to a building to do nuisance abatement, and then are aggressively confronted or even sued for "doing their job" and trying to assess who are the bad guys. So, basically, we were treated to an impassioned argument by the cops for using stop-and-frisk to do what they're asked to do. Tricky stuff that. I'd prefer not step into the debate, but they did seem to make a good point about how buildings can't really have it both ways. Either you want the cops to harass people and get them out, or you don't, since it's unlikely the folks are committing serious enough offenses to get them locked up for good.
The assumption some had was that the 71st has "tenants lists" for the buildings that have signed up for the F-TAP program (not to be confused with the Park Slope Food Coop's FTOP program) which gives the police the advanced right to enter a building and do "verticals" of the stairways, hallways and elevators. F-TAP does not allow them entry to individual apartments though, of course, meaning that the most they can do is to intimidate criminals and partiers into staying out of sight and off-sight. If you're interested in getting your building into the F-TAP program, you can go here and contact the D.A.'s office.
Here's a brief vid of the scene last night:
But here's something they keep saying, and I'm starting to believe. They simply don't get that many calls. Even when we claim we do, they say we don't. You can call the precinct directly, or you can call specific people like Sgt. Falk at 718-221-3429 or Sgt. Kelly (mornings) at 646-235 8611. You'll probably have to leave a message, so an emergency or urgent condition should always be a 911. And DON'T think someone else will call! They probably won't, and more calls are better than no calls. Just get used to calling in problems...they promised they don't get mad numbers of calls anyway, and it really is how resources are deployed. So call. Call. Call! And talk to your landlord about better lighting. The cops say it makes a huge difference.
Let's be frank; the police don't always do the right thing. Sometimes they're brusque or dismissive. Sometimes they seem reluctant to take a report when we're clearly upset. These experiences can make us suspicious whether they care at all. But just like how sometimes you go to a restaurant and get a rude waiter, it doesn't necessarily mean the whole place is worthless. Of course, it always COULD be a crappy business run by people who don't care, and that's what Yelp is for. But in the case of the 71st, I've met some pretty decent folks and I think that in general it's worth giving them our business, and the benefit of the doubt.
A rep from D.A. Charles Hynes' office was there, and she added the "law" side to the "order" conversation. Basically, the D.A. is interested in prevention, prosecution, and limiting recidivism. Because ALL the enforcers in attendance agreed that it's basically the same folks who cycle in and out of the system who cause the majority of the problems. When a kid gets out after serving a couple months, where does he go? Right back where he was before. The cops know him; he knows the cops. Falk said sometimes the perps come right up and say hello to him as if they're glad to see him after some time in the pen. Another thing they noted: these guys just don't give a sh*t about authority. They'll fight with the blues, punch 'em, spit in their face. It's a generation of lost souls, and the cops are only so empowered to deal with them. That's where the D.A.'s programs to try to reform repeat offenders become crucial.
D.A. Hynes will also attend "roundtables" of local citizens and precinct bigs to come up with a comprehensive plan to root out the serious gang activity. That's what the Q is working on for his block; the hard drugs have to go. I'm tired of seeing crackheads and junkies on the corner waiting for goods at 8am. And I'm really tired of watching the block be taken hostage by a small group of guys thinking they're Scarface Jr's. Next stop, D.A. Not that the cops haven't been incredibly helpful and started investigating more seriously...but we need more help, and it may be on its way through the "law" side. I don't know; I'm making it up as I go along, but I've had a lot of support and I'm grateful for it.
But really folks. Call. Call. Call. The cops say they're there for you and got your back. So call, and maybe get to know who's on the other end of the line.
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.