Auto Theft, Grand Larceny Up, Violent Crimes Down
By Rob Abruzzese
The 84th Precinct Community Council, covering Brooklyn Heights, Downtown, Vinegar and Boerum Hill, held its meeting on Monday, and traffic safety and last year’s crime stats were among the main items on the agenda.
Fitting in with that theme of traffic safety, P.O. Saief Hasnain was awarded the Cop of the Year award for his work in stopping DWIs in the precinct, which includes more than 400 bars and part of the Barclays Center area.
Hasnain has made 116 arrests since he became a cop in 2007. He made 19 DWI arrests last year and arrested 16 more for driving with suspended licenses.
“When I took over this post, one of the commitments I made was to aggressively pursue traffic safety, and we felt with that in mind that Officer Hasnain’s work was so important,” said Capt. Maximo Tolentino. “This type of work saves many lives, and I’m proud of his personal achievement. This community needs police officers that are dedicated to this type of work.”
Borough President Eric Adams, a former police captain, was also on hand, and he made it a point to thank Hasnain’s family — his wife Jerine, brother Samid and son Ayan.
“There are so many fatalities creeping up, and it’s something we can’t tolerate,” Adams said. “I want to personally thank your family, though, because your family never really sleeps when you are a cop. We work for 20-something years, and they do every minute with us.”
Hasnain, an immigrant from Bangladesh who came here as a child, said he was surprised he was chosen as the Cop of the Year. “It feels great, and it makes you want to work even harder when you are recognized like this,” he said.
After the award was given out and Hasnain was honored by Assemblywoman Joan Millman and and State Senator Daniel Squadron, Tolentino read the crime stats for last year.
Crime was up in the 84th Precinct overall with 1,069 crimes in 2013, compared with 1,041 in 2012. The largest reasons for the increase were grand larceny and grand larceny auto. Of those two crimes, 64 percent was attributed to theft of unattended property.
“I cannot say this enough — don’t leave your valuables in your car, especially in view of people walking by, and don’t leave your belongings unattended if you are out at a restaurant or department store,” Tolentino said.
Auto theft went from 23 incidences in 2012 to 38 last year. Of those 38 thefts, 27 were cars and three were scooters. Hondas and Fords were the preferred car of choice for thieves. Of these, 15 were recovered.
Tolentino urged everyone to report the crimes immediately. “We want a chance to pursue those that are preying on innocent people on the street. If you wait two or three days, we lose that chance,” he said.
Violent crimes, however, are down in the 84th Precinct. Murders decreased from four in 2012 to just one in 2013; rapes were down from four to one; robberies were down from 181 to 156, and felony assaults decreased to 117 from 134.
There were just two shooting victims versus six in 2012, 18 guns were recovered, and DWIs decreased from 72 to 62. “This is a good thing that we attribute to our Cop of the Year,” Tolentino said of the increased DWIs.
He pointed out that even though there was only one murder in his precinct in 2013, there were three traffic fatalities — one on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Street, one on the corner of Flatbush Avenue Extension and Tillary Street, and another on Smith and Schermerhorn streets.
Total injuries decreased from 540 in 2012 to 526 in 2013.However, pedestrian and bike injuries were up. To address this, Tolentino said that he would crack down bicycle infractions. He noted two of the three fatalities involving cars also involved bikes whose riders were being negligent.
“We’re going to have a zero tolerance with a lot of the stuff that has been happening with the bicycles,” Tolentino said.
The 84th Precinct issued only 48 speeding summonses in 2012, but increased that number to 77 in 2013. Tolentino explained that Atlantic Avenue, especially during off-peak hours, has been a particular issue when it comes.
“I’m confident that 2014 is going to be the year of the 84th Precinct,” Tolentino said in conclusion.