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Greenpointers say if police won’t patrol streets, they will

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A spike in violent crime and a decreased police presence has Greenpoint residents breaking out the walkie talkies.

Neighbors lined up to sign up for a neighborhood patrol group after a community meeting organized by local politicians to address the mayhem produced few answers but plenty of anger among residents who said cops are missing in action.

“I sit out in front of my house for hours and no police cars go down my street,” said neighborhood resident Alice Wilkowski. “The cops should be protecting us.”

More than 100 people showed up for the community forum on crime organized by City Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg) and attended by Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Williamsburg), 94th police precinct Commander James Ryan, and three assistant district attorneys.

“We should not be living in fear,” said Levin, who lives on Morgan Avenue in Greenpoint.

The block patrol would be the neighborhood’s first in years and would consist of volunteers taking dedicated shifts to keep an eye out for unsavory acts.

The meeting followed a highly publicized series of home invasions and sexual assaults in Greenpoint, as well as a pistol-whipping in broad daylight that left a man hospitalized. There have been 72 felony assaults in the area so far this year, compared to 54 this time in 2012, according to police statistics. There have been 12 rapes and one murder in the same period, up from five and zero last year, the stats say.

Residents said that not only were cops out of sight, they were missing in action. One business owner said that the alarm went off at her store and police never came.

“What if my store was actually broken into?” asked Bethany Vogel, owner of Raised by Wolves, a boutique on Franklin Street. “I am afraid for everybody.”

Many in the audience blamed the uptick in crime on homeless men from the 200-bed men’s shelter on McGuiness Boulevard. The shelter opened last fall after more than a year of protests from neighbors.

Ryan said that crime may be up and police numbers may be down, but it is not as bad as it seems, claiming that some of this year’s crimes happened within the homeless shelter, although he could not cite a specific number. Ryan also said that his precinct has shrunk along with the city’s police force, which has lost 3,500 officers since 2002.

Ryan said that he needs more cops assigned to the 94th precinct, instead of relying on overtime scheduling and assistance from other precincts, as he does now. Ryan said that the precinct currently has four uniformed cars on duty per shift, as well as one or two unmarked cars.

Assemblyman Lentol pledged to get tough on crime by re-introducing state legislation that would classify home invasions as a more serious crime than burglary.

Despite the uptick in violence, overall recorded crime is actually down in Greenpoint and Williamsburg as compared to last year.

Updated 12:49 pm, August 30, 2013: Story updated with photos and additional context.
Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
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Reader Feedback

Johnny 3 Toes from Ma Ballz says:
Hipsters!
Aug. 28, 2013, 11:29 am
Lauren from Greenpoint says:
Yes, Hipsters are the reason for the rise in crime. It has nothing to do with the fact that unemployment is up, the number of homeless in the neighborhood is up, and more and more bars are opening up. But yes, blame hipsters for women being brutally attacked outside their apartments.
Aug. 28, 2013, 12:51 pm
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
love how the police alway's find a group of disadvantge people as the cause "Homeless shelter". Crime as alwys been present in Greenpoint regardless of gentification or good pub. If you ever hang in Greenpoint or Willie B. You see a meltpot of people acting out.
Aug. 28, 2013, 1:08 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
^Lived here for the last 13 years. There has been typically very little crime in Greenpoint. Not going to go ahead and straight up blame the homeless shelter, but I've seen some sketchy characters lately, and am sure it is not helping.

*see also: Mccarren Pool.

The rest I'll attribute to an increase in outsider traffic due to the burgeoning popularity of the neighborhood.
Aug. 28, 2013, 3:30 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
I hate to say it, but crime happens everywhere. It also seems to happen right where and when you don't think it will. Crime doesn't discriminate. Even Windsor Terrace has seen its fair share of trouble lately. We have to remember that this crime can happen to us at any time, place or other. As I write this, an uneasy feeling fills my stomach area, and so I bid you a temporary fairly well. Pardon the interruption.
Aug. 28, 2013, 4:03 pm
JAY from nyc says:
oh gooody!!! An entire hood of mark zimmermans!!!!
Aug. 28, 2013, 7:48 pm
Steve WHO? from Where? says:
Maybe bleeding heart liberal progressive toughguy boy wonder Levin shouldn't have been too quick to bust the NYPD's chops with the silly bills and veto overriding.

Steve, let the cops do their jobs and Greenpoint will be safe.

By the way, Steve: what the heck is your job supposed to be that you are supposedly doing?
Aug. 28, 2013, 8:41 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
can be a very slippery slope.
Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 pm
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
There's also been an increase in crime in Clinton Hill. The neighborhood has changed from being a very quiet place with little foot traffic to a busier one, especially at night, and the kind of crime is typically the attack the yuppy type. Unfortunately.
Aug. 28, 2013, 9:42 pm
bkmanhatposeur from brokeland says:
People should enroll at Williamsburg MMA or Renzo Gracie Fight Academy.
But most importantly the cops should be on foot patrol & there should be ghetto birds making orbits around Greenpoint. Cops should stop wasting time ticketing cyclist & focus on violent crime suppression & bad automobile drivers.
Aug. 29, 2013, 7:57 am
Smith from The Smiths says:
It really is hipsters' fault.

Lauren, to answer your nonsense with some good old REAL Brooklyn sense...

Yes, Hipsters are the reason for the rise in crime. --The use lots of drugs.

It has nothing to do with the fact that unemployment is up --because hipsters take our jobs.

the number of homeless in the neighborhood is up --hipsters took their homes by increasing rent and forcing the slow-minded out onto the street.

and more and more bars are opening up. --cause hipsters need to get thar drink on!

But yes, blame hipsters for women being brutally attacked outside their apartments. --hipsters do brutally attack women, it's a well documented fact.
Aug. 29, 2013, 10:29 am
Bendrix says:
Listen up, hipsters. If you guys weren't so busy installing irrigation on rooftops while real New Yorkers are trying to earn a living without a trust fund from mom and dad in Kalamazoo, this wouldn't be happening. Get a clue. You are an infestation worse than cockroaches. When you've gone back to your flyover states, then we can get back to being like Andrew Dice Clay, eh. Somebody get me a sandwich. Preferably not a feminazi who will go protesting for women's lib.
Aug. 29, 2013, 12:20 pm
ty from pps says:
This is one of the strangest comment threads I've seen on this website in quite some time. Jeeesh.
Aug. 29, 2013, 12:39 pm
t from Williamsburg says:
If those committing these crimes think nothing is going to happen to make your neighborhood safe they will continue to prey on you. Fight for your neighborhood and safety. They will be forced to go elsewhere.
Aug. 29, 2013, 1:50 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Let me just say this:
A fellow walks into a bar and sits down. He's holding a small box. The bartender asks what is in the box. As the fellow begins to tell him, the bartender swings a bat right down on the box, crushing it, and says: "I hate small piano players!"
I hope you get my meaning. Think about it. Thanks for reading.
-John Wasserman
Aug. 29, 2013, 2:51 pm
Teresa from Greenpoint says:
The real crime here is a private company running the homeless shelter which does nothing but create a climate of kickbacks and a get rich scheme for the third party running it. NYers let demand a homeless system that is run by the city, for the city, not private companies. It the same as private companies running prisons, its a get rich quick / kickback scheme and we need to demand an end to it.
Aug. 29, 2013, 3:14 pm
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
The stupidity of you people sometimes is just amazing. The shoddy logic of tying hipsters to crime is one of the most desperate things I've seen on these boards. Gentrification has significantly improved the crime in the neighborhood that was rampant during the 80's and 90's. If you would like to go back to the days when you couldn't walk down Bedford Ave without tripping on a heroin needle I suggest that you move to Brownsville. You'll fit in great there...
Aug. 29, 2013, 4:44 pm
Steve WHO? from WHERE? says:
Shame Steve's against stop and frisk the way he is.

Greenpoint is that much less safe.
Aug. 29, 2013, 6:05 pm
MariEE from Sunset Park says:
Stay away from my 'hood, its been peaceful here since the 60s.
Aug. 29, 2013, 11:09 pm
Karen from Bay Ridge says:
Now you want cops? Make up your minds.
Aug. 30, 2013, 11:49 am
Hugh Bolagna from Slope says:
John W, You're welcome! Although I do believe it's "fare thee well" and not "fairly well".
Aug. 31, 2013, 11:13 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Yes, the people who move into marginal neighborhoods, buy homes, fix them up, buy things at local businesses, participate in community life, vote, pay taxes, obey the law, start families, worship, work, create, and treat their neighbors with respect are eeeeeevil. Just eeeevil. When we moved into our place in Park Slope the Verizon guy who came to connect the phone told us he almost begged off the call because when he was a kid he played with kids in our building and knew it to be on a very dangerous block filled with crack vials and needles and he was afraid of it. Now, there are multitudes of families with strollers and our block competes in the Brooklyn's Greenest Blocks competition. Clearly, it's a despicable development, eh?.

Why do you "native" nancies hate children, families, God, and America? By coming to a new place and building it up and making it better immigrants are truer New Yorkers, a city built by immigrants and immigration, than any timid, whiny, pallid pansy who has nothing better to do than sit around and throw stones at them. Seriously, we real Americans and real New Yorkers and real Brooklynites invite you to get out of our country if you don't like it. Go.
Sept. 1, 2013, 9:17 am
sslope from south slope says:
Indeed Scott, when I moved here in the 90's the heroin situation was out of control. Dealers and their homey pals would harass people on my block and tagged the buildings to claim turf. The homeowners on my block were too intimidated to do anything about it so the dealing went on until the cops finally dismantled most of it several years ago. Even though the area is vastly improved now, there are still echoes of that scene with a handful of now middle aged junkies still lurking about, looking to break in to people's cars and apts to get a fix, as well as some 2nd generation drug dealers living in rent-stabilized apts with their moms. People who romanticize that period of time seem to forget how much damage heroin did to the community, and how much better it is here now that the individuals involved have either been arrested or displaced by gentrification.
Sept. 1, 2013, 12:22 pm
A. Hill from Northside says:
Levin won't do anything, as usual there will be no follow up. He has no pull with the precinct, he just likes to call meetings and feel important. Go back to NJ and mow your lawn Steve.
Sept. 1, 2013, 9:47 pm
Gray from Greenpoint says:
just picked up a surefire p2x defender super bright flashlight. if anyone tries to mess w me at night I can temporarily blind them and avoid confrontation. there is also a strike bezel at the end of it (small spikes), just in case. I recommend everyone get one of these so we can start protecting ourselves! its small and will fit into your pocket or purse. lets send these criminals packin. be alert at night, don't be stupid and be messing around w ur phone completely oblivious to your surroundings.
Sept. 2, 2013, 11:16 am
Hugh Bolagna from Slope says:
So, censorship is the order of the day? I guess the "truth" is a dangerous thing to some! It was what it was and is what it is!
Sept. 3, 2013, 2:08 pm

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