Manhattan Beach Crime Wave Shocks Residents

This summer, Manhattan Beach has been a hotspot — for crime.

One of Southern Brooklyn’s toniest neighborhood has seen an uptick in thefts this month, according to residents who say that police aren’t doing enough to find the culprits.

One resident whose home was burglarized three weeks ago said he knows who broke into his house, but the police have not been responsive.

“I know what [the burglar] looks like, where he went to high school, his identity — I know everything about this kid except his Social Security number,” said Erik, a Manhattan Beach homeowner who did not give his last name. “The police have not been helpful. They’re not in a rush to do anything.”

Not so, explained Deputy Inspector George Mastrokostas, the commanding officer of the 61st Precinct, who said his officers are constantly patrolling the neighborhood, even though the precinct is the safest community in the area.

“We’re always patrolling [Manhattan Beach],” Mastrokostas said. “But we must deploy most of our resources to where the bulk of the crime is, and there’s not a lot of crime in Manhattan Beach.”

Mastrokostas said that 25 robberies took place in the 61st Precinct, which also includes Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend and Homecrest, last month. Only one of those robberies took place in Manhattan Beach, he said.

“Manhattan Beach is a relatively safe place,” Mastrokostas explained.

Yet burglaries are up: according to NYPD statistics: there have been nine in Manhattan Beach this year as opposed to just three in 2010.

Car break-ins in Manhattan Beach are down, albeit slightly — there have been 17 this year, three fewer than last year. Car thefts are also down — four versus eight in 2010.

“Right now crimes in Manhattan Beach are either the same or lower than last year,” one police source explained.

Yet homeowners disagree. They claim their neighborhood is a target for thieves hell-bent on stealing from residents’ cars and homes. Their only solution is to support the private Beachside Neighborhood Patrol.

“There are plenty more incidents that are not reported,” said resident Harold Weinberg at a Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association meeting. “The only real patrol is private patrols at Beachside.”

But others — like Councilman Mike Nelson (D–Manhattan Beach), who was the victim of a larceny when he left his car unlocked one night last month — say homeowners must take more responsibility and make sure their cars and homes are secured.

“No matter how many times you get out of the car, you should lock it,” said Nelson. “I found out the hard way.”

Mastrokostas agreed, adding that Manhattan Beach’s car break-in woes would diminish if residents remember to take their valuables out of their cars at night.

“People have to know that a car isn’t their home,” Mastrokostas said. “Nor is it a safe.”