The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

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.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stabbing At P-Park Station

You might see a stabbing shown on various (grisly) websites devoted to crime in NYC. It took place Wednesday morning at 2am-ish. Vinnie from the 71st tells me that two guys started an altercation that began on the Q train north of here, going south. When they got to the station, the stabbing occurred, then they fled. So technically it's the 71st, but one could argue we were merely the "lucky" recipients of the action.

The Q's always keeping an eye on the numbers. But lately we've been pleasantly surprised by the infrequency of major incidents - last year was a different story. Be careful out there, and remember that if you see something serious going down, it's really your duty to report it - don't assume someone else in "on it." What "serious" means to you might differ from person to person, but the 911 calls are not like timeouts in a football game. You can make as many as necessary, and you don't have to be 100% correct in your assessment. If you see illegal activity, including drug selling, please call 911, despite what you think is the right use of that number. Resources are deployed based on the number of 911 calls. There are plenty of operators, and you can remain anonymous if you want. Regardless of your views on the police, they are way less effective without information and help from the public. I've been told time and again that relatively minor offenses lead to bigger, badder stuff, and is often indicative of a potentially volatile situation lurking under the surface. It's true that the cops can go overboard at times, but they're actually BETTER at dealing with situations when they know what they're getting into. So again, more info the better, in real time.


Danya said...

Curious about this: "There are plenty of operators, and you can remain anonymous if you want."

The second weekend I was living in this neighborhood (and the first time I had a visitor from out of town), last September, my partner, visitor, and I saw what looked like several men beating up another man. My visitor called 911 and gave them the information we could see from afar. They were ADAMANT that we had to give them identifying information, including address, full name, and phone number(s). We gave them a phone number but none of the other information. We didn't know all the background to what we saw, and we didn't want to be linked to it in any way!

The operator seemed much less concerned about sending someone out to check up on things after we refused to give all our info and said, "We'll send someone out when we can." Not too promising. We felt BULLIED by the 911 operator. And, we never heard any sirens, though the incident we witnessed was quite close.

So in light of all this, I'm curious about what you say, that you can stay anonymous while calling 911. We did not FEEL that this was the case in our interaction with the 911 operator. It's definitely stopped me from calling 911 about questionable things since then. Do you have any insight on our experience? Any more info on the rules and expectations for calling 911 in NYC?

BTW, this is my first post. HI! At some point we should connect about a neighborhood oral history project I've been wanting to start.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Danya: To your last point, Bob Thomason has a library of stuff, all hard copy, dating back 40 or 50 years. There's another person (help me out here old timers) who has a similarly large stash. I would start by talking to them and get names to talk to, and check with block association presidents, lefferts manor association, the community board...Bob Marvin, Montrose Morris...put a call out on the Lefferts Yahoo listserv or Facebook page...

To your other point, I can honestly say in dozens of calls through my 25 years in Brooklyn I can't recall ever feeling bullied into leaving my info. I don't feel bullied easily though, but whoever you got on the line was WAY out of line. Next time you call start out by saying you don't want to leave your info, and if you don't like the sound of the guy or gal in the call center, call back and get someone else.

The only reason to leave your phone number or address and name is because you WANT them to contact you. I do this so I can follow up easier, and they DO call me back sometimes to check in. A weird number shows up on your caller i.d. I'm pretty certain they don't just automatically take you more seriously because you leave your info. Their primary job is to relay the information, not to get you to give them your personal almanac. UNLESS of course the crime is happening IN YOUR HOME.

The two complaints I hear the most are:

A) They never show up. To which I say, there are sometimes good reasons. Most of the time, we think they should be there in a flash, and the ONLY way I've been able to make that happen is to say someone's life is jeopardy, or I see a gun, or I heard a shot. I often text the commander or Vinnie at the same time, if it's really important.

B. Officers show up at your door, or somehow make it clear that you were the one calling. This is why if you're fearful you shouldn't leave your name or address. You could always follow-up the next day with the precinct and ask if they responded to your 911 call about XYZ, just to make sure they received it. And be friendly on the phone...there are human beings on the other end.

I remember at one of these community meetings being impressed by the honesty some of the good cops expressed about prioritizing calls on a busy night. Say you call and say there's some suspicious guy on the corner, but you don't give a description and a clear crime being committed. That might get bumped down a few pegs. But call and say there's a burglar climbing up a fire escape and trying windows for entrance? They damn well better show up in a hurry, and I'd hold their feet to the fire if they didn't.

Lastly, and we all hate this one, there's just some lame ass cops out there. Each precinct has some, and they just plain don't seem to give a rat's ass. These folks exist in all areas of government - the 20-and-out civil servants, working only for their pensions. In fact, I'll bet at just about everyone's workplace you could identify a few mediocre or downright lazy people. And by the by, I'm still shocked at how not reflective of the community most cops are. The cop culture has been very slow to change.

Voice of Anacaona said...

Danya --

I have been living here for some time and I have had similar experiences, to the point where 911 calls me back for more identifying information after explicitly wanting to stay anonymous.

It has made me very uncomfortable and conflicted. I occasionally read the Lefferts listserv and do feel that Vinnie and the 71st are interested in support us and keeping the hood safe. I don't call very often and I feel like I use very good judgment, so who knows. I have expressed concerns to Vinnie, but I think this is a larger 911 call center issue.

Danya said...

I really appreciate the feedback! I imagined that the issue was with the 911 call center, not the local precinct. I'm over on Nostrand and I like seeing cops talking to kids and shop owners every morning and afternoon when kids are going to and from school. It makes me feel like their hearts are probably in the right place. Good to hear a bit more background/explanation (here and in previous blog posts).

I'll email you re: research contacts, CFB.