Monday, January 26, 2009
TO CATCH A THIEF: HOW THE 76TH PRECINCT DOES IT
I've never been mugged, but I know several people who have been jumped, a few of them right here in Carroll Gardens. In most of the cases, the victims were teenagers. I describe these crimes as "snatch and grabs," where a kid comes running by, shoves the victim and swipes a phone or something else of value.
A few months ago, I wrote about how I helped a young woman try to track down the thug who snatched her Blackberry on Degraw street. The 76th precinct cops were great, driving us around and pointing out suspects they had detained. We never found the kid, but police may have very well caught him later.
Now, another case and an admission by several of New York's finest that this sort of thing appears to happens a lot. It was just last week, at Smith and Butler, when a group of teenagers ran past another boy, shoved him and made off with his cell phone. My buddy flagged down a cop who initiated a speedy search of the area. For the next hour, my friend rode around in a patrol car trying to identify suspects pulled aside by other officers. They caught two boys, a 17 and 15 year old, who were arrested a few blocks away.
Although the 76th precinct's new commander, Captain Ken Cory says robberies in Carroll Gardens dropped 25-percent in 2008, several cops have told me they've seen quite a few of these "snatch and grabs." Capt. Cory doesn't see this as an escalating problem. Those involved, police believe are kids from the projects South of Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill and the massive complex in Red Hook. In most cases, no assault occurs. The punks just grab what ever the person is holding. They target all ages, but teens appear to be their preferred victims.
Here's a snap shot of some of the attacks over a two week period:
* A pony-tailed hooligan mugged a 12-year-old boy near the corner of Henry Street and Fourth Place on Jan. 9. The boy was asked, “What do you have in your pockets?” The schoolboy gave up five bucks to the thug.
* A Food delivery man is beat up and and robbed on Van Brunt St.
* 3 teens mug a kid on his way to school on Smith St, steel is Ipod and cell phone
* A 19 year old woman is robbed of her cell phone on President St.
* A 17 year old is arrested for mugging a man of his Ipod and headphones.
* A woman's purse is grabbed from her on New Years Day.
* Teen comes up to another girl and says, "yo, what's the time." When she pulled out her cell phone to check, the teenager snatched it.
Over the past few years, patrols have been stepped up near local middle and high schools as classes let out. More cops are also keeping an eye on the bar and restaurant dotted Smith Street. Foot patrols are more common and cops appear more aggressive then ever to solve even the most minor cases. I'm not sure there's much more the police can do. But, YOU can do your part. Report these crimes, even if you consider them petty. Most importantly, follow-up! Help cops ID the punks and if need be, show up in court and testify.