Home burglaries and traffic incidents spiked in November due to Superstorm Sandy, but, overall, things are getting back to normal within the 61st Precinct’s command, Captain John Chell told members of the 61st Precinct Community Council last night.
Chell kicked off the meeting by again thanking the community for the tremendous outpouring of support from neighbors in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, saying that their efforts bolstered the police department’s effectiveness in the first few trying days after the flood water receded.
“This is our team right here. Community, elected officials, precinct council, myself,” Chell said.
But while the storm spurred on neighborliness, it also encouraged criminals. Chell noted that there was a spate in apartment burglaries in November, wherein perps were breaking in to apartments through the fire escape. Most of the incidents, he said, were confined to the southern stretch of the command, where Sheepshead Bay meets Manhattan Beach, and all along Emmons Avenue.
But Chell again pointed to his theory that one percent of individuals are responsible for 100 percent of the crime, and noted that after making two arrests for those apartment break-ins, the looting statistics tapered off.
“When you grab the right person doing the right crime and put them in jail, it’s remarkable how you can see the number, if you will, just come down,” he said. “Hopefully it stays that way.”
Traffic accidents, including an unspecified amount in which pedestrians were struck, also surged after the hurricane knocked out power to traffic lights. As service to the lights has been restored, traffic statistics are returning to normal, Chell said.
Aside from the two Sandy-related upticks, Chell noted that car break-ins continue to “plague us,” even remarking that a member of his own family had some items stolen from their vehicle recently.
“We, collectively, I think we’re all guilty. We run to the store, running late to be home, we leave our bag in the car and we make mistakes. And it kind of hurts us,” he said, reminding residents not to leave anything in their car, and to ensure their doors are always locked. The command is also circulating photos internally of known car break-in perps, which they’re hoping to use to catch the thieves in the act.
“For the most part, we have their pictures, we try to follow them and we try to catch them … and we’ve had success with that,” he said.