Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, the new commander of the 106th Precinct, said he wants all his officers to be proactive in their efforts to reduce crime in the community.
Schiff cited the arrest last week of three individuals and the seizure of a large quantity of marijuana, assault rifles, handguns and ammunition by proactive 106th Precinct officers who were diligent and did a thorough investigation resulting in the arrests and seizure.
A 17-year veteran of the NYPD, Schiff, 46, was appointed to the top spot in the 106th Precinct last week as Deputy Inspector Thomas Pascale, who headed the precinct for three years, was transferred to a new assignment at Patrol Borough Brooklyn South.
Schiff, born in Brooklyn but raised in Queens, comes from a family of police officers and is married to a former cop.
He joined the force in July 1996, after graduating third in his police academy class, and began his career on patrol in the 103rd Precinct in South Jamaica. He rose through the ranks being appointed captain in May 2007 and deputy inspector in June 2013. He has served in the 108th Precinct in Long Island City, Patrol Borough Manhattan South, 1st Precinct in Lower Manhattan, Patrol Borough Brooklyn South and the 68th Precinct in Bay Ridge. Schiff previously served as the Commanding Officer of the 76th Precinct in Carroll Gardens and also as executive officer of the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush. He holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
At the 106th Precinct, he is looking to increase community involvement.
He said he and his staff would be attending as many community meetings as possible.
In the coming weeks, Schiff is going to create an email list and send “E-blasts” to provide information to residents on burglary patterns, robberies and other crimes in an effort to raise awareness and improve intelligence made available to the NYPD. He said there would be several email lists — religious organizations, educational organizations, elected officials, news media, business entities and a general community resident list — so information can be targeted to an affected group.
Schiff said he would continue his open-door policy, inviting residents with concerns to come to the Precinct Community Council’s monthly meetings.
He believes “wholeheartedly” in the “broken windows” theory of law enforcement, which revolves around the belief that people arrested by police for minor crimes are sometimes later found to be responsible for major ones, and Schiff will encourage precinct officers to act on their observations of minor crimes.
He recounted such an incident in the 76th Precinct. He said officers there stopped an individual drinking beer in public. The man was unable to provide identification. He was arrested, and a search found that he was in possession of a gun.
The inspector said the biggest issues in the precinct that he will seek to address are youth problems by the schools at dismissal time, gang activity and local bars and clubs whose patrons are causing problems. He said he is also concerned with pawn shops where criminals may be selling their stolen merchandise.
Schiff asked residents to call 911 if they see suspicious activity on their block, such as an unknown individual wearing a UPS or FedEx uniform with a package, going door-to-door ringing door bells on multiple homes, or an individual going into backyards.
He is also looking into bringing his successful “Spot It To Secure It” program to the 106th Precinct. The program involves a team of cops patrolling the neighborhood for parked cars that have iPhones, iPads, laptops and other valuables left inside and in plain sight. The officers will then snap a picture and mail it to the vehicle’s owner, reminding them not to leave belongings in their cars.
The additional benefit of this program is that many cops will be patrolling individual blocks deterring crime, Schiff added
“We have cops walking up and down your block,” he said. “Who is going to complain about a cop walking on your block?”
Schiff explained that burglaries were reduced by 50 percent and car break-ins by 49 percent in the 76th Precinct area targeted by the “Spot It To Secure It” Program.