Push to revive block watch in North Brooklyn
by Andrew Shilling
Sep 04, 2013 | 503 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With violent crime and graffiti on the rise compounded with a shortage of police officers in the 94th Precinct, Greenpoint and Williamsburg elected officials are calling for community participation to help curb the spike in lawlessness.

Following reports of an astonishing 140 percent increase in rapes this year to date, the community came to an agreement to bring back the Block Watch program at a forum last week.

Councilman Stephen Levin and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol hosted the vent last Tuesday night at the Polish-Slavic Center in Greenpoint with the precinct captain to discuss the rise in crime and develop a plan.

“This has been a program I remember as a kid in this job,” Lentol said. “It’s basically a program where everyone on the block can participate by seeing something and saying something.”

While dozens showed up to voice their concerns about the neighborhood, they also formed a line and signed up for the effort to bring back the community watch program.

While Lentol acknowledged the shortage in officers as a contributing factor to the rise in crime, he said community involvement would act as a deterrent and that criminals are “not going to come here if they know there’s a block watch active.”

Lentol and Levin together wrote a letter to Commissioner Raymond Kelly to call for additional resources and investigate the unusual spike in crime.

"The community has shown great concern about the increase in crime over this summer and as a resident of Greenpoint, I have felt the impact as well,” Levin said. “That's why I organized a public meeting with the NYPD and Assemblyman Lentol to address safety in Greenpoint and it's why Greenpoint residents are showing interest in revamping the neighborhood block watch.”

The letter points to the 200-bed homeless assessment center at 400 McGuinness Blvd. and a growing neighborhood population as contributing factors to the rise in crime.

“By increasing community involvement in the neighborhood block watch, Greenpoint residents can help prevent crime in this neighborhood that we all care for deeply,” Levin said.

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