Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) is defending the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy in the wake of last week’s federal court ruling that curtails the program in Bronx housing projects.
Speaking at the Jan. 11 meeting of the Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol in the 104th Precinct, Crowley said the Jan. 8 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin is not a reflection on the results, which police estimate takes more than 8,000 weapons — including more than 800 guns — off the streets in a given year.
“We are the safest big city in the country,” Crowley said. “And that is with 6,000 fewer police officers than when Mayor Bloomberg took office.”
Scheindlin issued her ruling in connection with the NYPD’s Operation Clean Halls program, in which police, with the agreements of the owners and tenants, make unannounced patrols in buildings located in high-crime areas.
Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD must set down regulations limiting the circumstances under which a person in a building can be stopped for suspicion of trespassing.
Deputy Inspector Michael Cody, commanding officer of the 104th, said Operation Clean Halls is not carried out at any length in the precinct, given the dearth of high-rise apartment buildings.
He said he is sure the NYPD’s legal division will examine the need to make suitable accommodations required by the judge’s ruling.
As to Crowley’s remark about New York being a safe city, Cody said year-end statistics for the 104th showed a better than a 2.6 percent drop in overall major crimes from 2011.
“It’s a trend we want to continue,” he said.
Car thefts, down 15 percent from 249 to 210 for the year, led the charge. Burglaries were down 3 percent and grand larcenies, including credit card fraud and identity theft, were down 2.8 percent.
But aggravated assaults, or assaults using a weapon, went up from 250 in 2011 to 254.
Cody said many of those were domestic incidents in which the attacker and victim knew each other, as opposed to random street attacks.
Raped went up by one from 14 to 15.
Cody said the weather the last two winters may have contributed to the increase in robberies by more than 7 percent.
“In the winter of 2010-11 we had no one out on the streets,” he said. “Last winter was very mild, and it looks like we may continue that this year.”
He said narcotics arrests were up 20 percent, from 530 to 636, and DWI arrests soared 35 percent, from 148 to 200.
And the inspector said he will have more help this year, with a dozen new officers having joined his command in recent weeks.
“I had asked for them, and they are being deployed where they are needed,” Cody said.
Crowley said that the upcoming city budget negotiations between the Council and Mayor Bloomberg could prove as difficult this year as in past years.
Recent reports issued by the city’s Independent Budget Office and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli say the city currently is looking at about a $1.7 billion shortfall that must be closed in the fiscal year 2014 budget, which kicks in on July 1 of this year.
She said an added twist is that all Council seats are up for election in November, while Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) wants to take Bloomberg’s job.
And she is concerned that a number of fire companies — Bloomberg has targeted up to 20 for elimination each of the last few years — could be back on the top of his list again.
“He seems to bring those up every year, and I think they’ll come up again,” Crowley told the group. “He succeeded in 2003 and 2004. I want you to know I think this is important.”
Crowley also said that G-COP, which has had to hold fundraisers and make public appeals for financial help, could be in for up to $8,500 in assistance from her city discretionary funds.
She said that, unfortunately, the higher the amount that a community group is up for, the longer the city’s vetting process now takes.
“Good organizations like G-COP get hurt because of the practices of past members — who have been indicted,” she said.