An offer to help keep Gerritsen Beach safe from a redux of last year’s teenage Halloween hooliganism was rebutted by neighbors and police, as the community made last-minute plans for the holiday.
Speaking at the 61st Precinct Community Council meeting, a leader of a local volunteer neighborhood improvement group in Gravesend offered to drive around the neighborhood and take photos and video of mischievous teenagers during the holiday, but both the deputy inspector and the head of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owner’s Association said they had it covered.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure that the shenanigans that went on for years, particularly last year, will not go on this year. It’s the wrong message to send when we talk and talk and talk and don’t do anything about it,” said Ron Greenberg of the Coney Island / Southwest Gravesend Vandals Task Force, an all-volunteer group that cleans up graffiti in Gravesend and Coney Island. “This Halloween something’s going to be done about it. I will be out there, I will be taking pictures, I will put those kids on videotape. Something will be done.”
That offer went nowhere with the precinct commander.
“I say thank you, but let the police do the policing,” said Deputy Inspector Georgios Mastrokostas, to chuckles from the meeting’s attendees.
“I hate to tell you, but the kids in Gerritsen Beach would make mincemeat out of you,” said George Broadhead of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owner’s Association.
Broadhead said the community has been working hand-in-hand with both the 61st and 63rd Precincts since preparations began in September with Mastrokostas urging parents to be more involved.
Last year, teens were caught on film by GerritsenBeach.net throwing rocks and potatoes at pedestrians and motorists. The hooliganism became a citywide story, and many parents in the community were vilified for expressing more outrage against the blogger who exposed the violence, calling him a pedophile, than over their children’s behavior.
This year, in addition to cross-communication between the precincts and the community, the organization has made its own plans. And instead of one man in a car, they’re bringing in an army – or at least a bunch of former service-members.
“The word is out. We have a patrol. It is non-confrontational,” Broadhead announced. The patrol is made up of several armed service veterans and current servicemembers, as well as parents. They’ve also been spreading the message that no free pass will be given to kids this year.
“We have told the parents that [misbehaved teens] will be arrested for felonious assault if someone gets hit,” Broadhead said. ”We know in the beach now, we’re starting to point out who these people are.”
Aside from identifying the kids involved, the patrol will be eyes and ears for the precincts, with commitments from the NYPD to send more manpower if needed.
“We have the assurance that there’s going to be backup wherever possible,” Broadhead said.