Police brass blames Sunset Park for violent Bay Ridge crimes

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Southern Brooklyn’s top detective is blaming Sunset Park for two brutal crimes that happened in Bay Ridge.

Deputy Inspector Raymond Festino, who heads the Brooklyn South detective squad, told a crowd at the 68th Precinct Community Council meeting on Wednesday that the shooting of four men in a 73nd Street deli two weeks ago and the homicide of a Bay Ridge woman in Owl’s Head Park last month may have technically happened in Bay Ridge’s 68th Precinct, but they’re really Sunset Park and the 72nd Precinct’s problem.

“That homicide — even though it took place here in the 68 — was actually, really, a 72 homicide. It was circumstances that it took place here — it was really probably going to happen in the 72,” Festino said of Jennifer Cohen, and 85th Street resident who was found beaten to death in Owl’s Head Park on Sept. 30, just blocks from the 68th Precinct station house where Festino was commanding officer for two years until last spring. “It seems that the perpetrator met our victim in the 72 and walked many blocks into the 68. Just be assured that this was not something that happened in Bay Ridge. It was something that took place outside of Bay Ridge and came inside.”

Officials are still looking for an unidentified man that she was last seen with in Sunset Park.

And two weeks ago, three men followed a guy from outside a bar on Third Avenue and 73rd Street into a neighboring deli and shot four people. Festino said that too was not related to Bay Ridge — despite occuring within it — because all the victims were from Sunset Park.

“That again seems likes it was something out of Sunset Park,” he said. “All the victims, all Sunset Park residents. So it’s not something that you would say is Bay Ridge-related.”

Official police department data nonetheless lists both crimes as 68th Precinct crimes.

Some at the meeting told this paper they found Festino’s claims absurd, and one challenged him publicly.

“Even if people are from Sunset Park or wherever — they’re still happening here,” Camille Regan shot back during the meeting. “And this girl that got killed — that’s Bay Ridge. She was killed, beaten in Bay Ridge, very close to all of our homes.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 8:37 am, October 21, 2016
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

John from Bay Ridge says:
Ridiculous BS from a lazy incompetent. Criminals come to Bay Ridge to commit crimes because they know the patrol force sleeps through the night shift, and the supervision doesn't have a clue.
Oct. 21, 2016, 8:24 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I don't doubt that criminals come from there, but it's the police's job to prevent them from committing crimes here!
Oct. 21, 2016, 8:27 am
Null from Bay Ridge says:
I was at the meeting. That was embarassing when he said that. So it's OK for Bay Ridge residents to go to Sunset Park to "shop" or "work" like Ms. Cohen appears to have been doing?
Oct. 21, 2016, 8:29 am
Null from Bay Ridge says:
The first two commenters don't get it. He was playing into the traditional Bay Ridge attitude that the neighborhood is somehow special and superior.
Oct. 21, 2016, 8:31 am
Null from Bay Ridge says:
Also there were people in the audience carrying on extended conversations and laughing when Festino was talking about the murder and later when there were other speakers. Better behavior next month people!
Oct. 21, 2016, 8:41 am
Rob Sunset Park Podcast from Sunset Park says:
Hilarious how this so called squad commander is blaming his incompetence on an entire neighborhood (Sunset Park). I've never heard the captains at Central Park blame surrounding neighborhoods for crime that takes place inside Central Park. Raymond Festino is proof that the NYPD employs the barely employable. Sunset Park deserves a public apology from Festino.
Oct. 21, 2016, 8:45 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Null, we understand exactly what's going on with the 68. Festino is a clown, and should not be in charge of a hot dog cart.
Oct. 21, 2016, 8:57 am
Null from Bay Ridge says:
He also said that Bay Ridge residents take "really good care of their houses" by having camera systems on them.
Oct. 21, 2016, 9:09 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
simple solution is for NYPD to put up gates and checkpoints on 65 Street to Gowanus Expressway. There is really 10 or so entry points to Bay Ridge from Sunset Park and Dyker Heights.
Oct. 21, 2016, 11:29 am
Null from Bay Ridge says:
Checkpoints! Great idea! Keep the Bay Ridge drug buyers out of Sunset!
Oct. 21, 2016, 11:48 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
another solution is to allow 72 PCT patrol cars enter 68 PCT territory, so that the prior can look for its residents on the street at night.
Oct. 21, 2016, 11:49 am
Null from Bay Ridge says:
It's a free country, MJ. Ever hear of that?
Oct. 21, 2016, 11:55 am
Rob Sunset Park Podcast from Sunset Park says:

Maybe they should build a wall around Bay Ridge. LOL. That'll keep the undesirables out.
Oct. 21, 2016, 12:06 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
Festino has a point as crime within 72 PCT spikes up YTD (up 4%), but 68 PCT continues to decrease (down 12%). Crime complaints often spill into other neighborhoods because the freedom of movement. But if the 72 PCT can reduce its crime at its core, then Bay Ridge will benefit. For example, crime complaints at Coney Island 60 PCT declined dramatically year-to-date (down 36%), helping to lower crime rates in the neighboring Bath Beach's 62 PCT (down 13%) and Sheepshead Bay's 61 PCT (down 17 %)
Oct. 21, 2016, 12:23 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Null, it's clear that you're not from Bay Ridge (possibly an offended person from Sunset). Sorry to say, but Bay Ridge has nicer houses and lower crime. Despite the lazy precient! Criminals from Sunset Park come to Bay Ridge to cause trouble because they think it's easier or there's more money over here.
If you genuinely lived here and believed what you say you would have moved to Sunset where property and apartments are cheaper. Why would you live in a place you seem to dislike. You're just a troll.
Oct. 21, 2016, 12:57 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
MJ that's ridiculous. The 68 is responsible for the safety of Bay Ridge, not the 72 (which by the way has energetic patrol officers and leadership that puts the 68 to shame).
Oct. 21, 2016, 12:58 pm
Null from Bay Ridge says:
I live where the neighborhoods meet so I know both areas. The murdered woman was from 85th street and had a handbag full of hypodermic needles, which Mr. Festino did not mention. She was not in Sunset Park by accident. The way he talked about how they walked from the 72 into the 68 was offensive. If only he had killed her a few blocks north...! His message was "don't worry residents of inner whitelandia."
Oct. 21, 2016, 1:09 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
John, I agree it is that ridiculous. I once when to 68 PCT stationhouse to report something, but the officer laugh at me for reporting such a stupid thing - he said 68 PCT is not like CSI tv-series.
Oct. 21, 2016, 1:19 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
John, According to the Displacement Crime Theory, 72 PCT's energetic patrol officers and leadership may causes some criminal activity to relocate because motivated criminals see increased policing within 72 PCT when compares to 68 PCT.
Oct. 21, 2016, 1:29 pm
Null from Bay Ridge says:
According to Festino the 3rd Avenue shooting was aimed at one person and the others were what the military calls collateral damage (my words, not his.)
Oct. 21, 2016, 1:37 pm
John Doe from Sunset Park says:

Your a dope and or probably ignorant and poorly educated. To say that Bayridge has nicer houses is a matter of your stupid opinion. Both neighborhoods have their charm, now I for one prefer the beautiful brownstones of Sunset Park over some of the gaudy houses of bay Ridge that you might find as nicer. Something you might not know; Sunset Park is the largest historic district in the north east. You should be angry at they lazy pigs of the 68, stop blaming Sunset Park.
Oct. 21, 2016, 2:42 pm
Coochie Rondriguez from Sunset Park says:
John Doe - so right! From the porn stores and Costco under the highway, to the discount stores and tacoerias of fifth avenue, to the homeless hotels, or the massive bus station - Sunset Park is so beautiful!
Our historic district is certainly larger and nicer than Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights. All Bay Ridge has is well maintained homes, less crime, residents who can speak English, and an oceanfront that isn't completely blocked by an industrial zone!
Oct. 21, 2016, 4:58 pm
Null from Bay Ridge says:
In Sunset Park the beauty of the brownstones and the charm of the row houses is being destroyed by ugly alterations and miles of stainless steel. Sadly this is legal. Walked near 8th and 7th Avenues today and it is a horrow show up there. Landmarking is the only answer.
Oct. 21, 2016, 5:50 pm
Null from Bay Ridge says:
And "Coochie," the industry along the waterfront IS beautiful because it employs people.
Oct. 21, 2016, 5:53 pm
Anne from Bay Ridge/Sunset Border says:
The victims in both crimes need justice not a Detective Commander blaming a neighboring community in an effort to calm fears. People are afraid because the attackers have not been arrested. How about detectives working on solving these horrible crimes in Bay Ridge instead of blaming a community of good people like those who live in Sunset Park for their failures. I think our elected officials from the Mayor to our Borough President to the City Council should urge an apology from this detective commander. His comments are very upsetting.
Oct. 22, 2016, 8:03 pm
Bob from Shore rd says:
His comments are truthful and based on fact, the truth is not always what we want to hear...
Oct. 22, 2016, 10:19 pm
Null from Bay Ridge says:
Per Wikipedia...The 2000 United States Census[1] for Sunset Park, Brooklyn approximates that there were 120,441 people living in the neighborhood...Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Bay Ridge was 79,371, a decrease of 1,168 (1.5%) from the 80,539 counted in there are approximately 40,000 more people in Sunset Park than in inner whitelandia.
Oct. 22, 2016, 11:05 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Being a sanctuary city has nothing to do with it!
Oct. 23, 2016, 7:26 am
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
Bob from shire riad
You are correct
Oct. 23, 2016, 7:52 am
Null from Bay Ridge says:
That wasn't the point I was trying to make idiot.
Oct. 23, 2016, 9:32 am
Craig from Bay Ridge says:
Has anyone ever checked into the Bay Ridge crime statistics? Somethings just don't get reported to keep the numbers down. I don't think there is anyone reading this paper who hasn't heard of the increase in crime in the area.
Oct. 23, 2016, 11:42 am
SMI from Bay Ridge says:
Originally born and bred in Sunset Park (Greenwood Heights) of Puerto Rican descend and alot hasn't changed within both communities....if you ain't "White" it ain't "Right" As far as the Commander he "reeks prejudice"...
Oct. 25, 2016, 12:39 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!