Captain George Mastrokostas, the commanding officer of the 61st Precinct, has a bone to pick with Mother Nature.
When year-end NYPD CompStat numbers were doled out, Sheepshead Bay’s 61st Precinct had the second largest crime drop in the city — save for one command.
“The Central Park Precinct came in number one, but they don’t cover a community,” he explained with a grin although his displeasure at coming in second to a swath of paths and leafy trees was apparent on his face. “They’re a park.”
But whatever displeasure he had evaporated when he explained how well the precinct has done — and continues to do when it comes to crime reduction.
Addressing members of the 61st Precinct Community Council Wednesday, Mastrokostas said that the 61st Precinct saw a 26 percent drop in crime by the end of 2009 — far outpacing every other precinct in the borough.
Cops at the Coney Island Avenue command ended the year celebrating a 36 percent drop in robberies and a 30 percent drop in car thefts. Burglaries in the precinct, which also encompasses Homecrest, Manhattan Beach and parts of Midwood fell by 25 percent, according to NYPD CompStat statistics.
“It was a terrific year,” said Mastrokostas. “We were down in nearly every category.”
“We came in under 460 crimes for the year, that’s a huge decrease.”
But any year-end celebrating by cops in the command was dampened somewhat when Mastrokostas told them that they would have to reduce crime even further in 2010.
“I told the men and women of the command that we can do it,” he said. “They looked at me like I was crazy.”
But the year’s first CompStat numbers could be a good omen.
Mastrokostas said that the precinct saw a 41 percent drop in crime during the first week of 2010 when compared to the first week of 2009.
Between January 4 and January 10, 20 felonies were reported to the command. In the first week of 2009, 35 felonies had been investigated.
“The second week of January is half over and we’ve only seen four (felony) crimes,” he said Wednesday.
In order to keep the momentum going, Mastrokostas said that he and his officers will continue to be pushing all of the command’s crime prevention education initiatives.
“In the next few days, you’re going to see our auxiliary officers by the train stations letting people know how they can better secure their cars and homes, and all the programs we have to help them do this,” he said, adding that precinct cops will continue to keep watch on all school corridors, work with cops from Housing and Transit divisions as well as the DA’s office and keep an eye out for neighborhood parolees who may be planning crimes in the coming year.
“We know who the bad guys in this command are,” he said. “We’ll be keeping track of them.”