The New York Post reports drunk driving arrests in the 7th Precinct have almost tripled this year. As of March 27th, officers had busted 65 people for DWI, compared with 23 in the first quarter of 2010. No other precinct had more arrests than the 7th.
The Post says “The arrests reflect a 12 percent increase in licensed establishments serving liquor in the neighborhood in the first three months of this year.” There are 359 liquor licenses within the 7th, the second smallest precinct in the city. The arrests were confined to the area below Houston Street. The 9th Precinct covers the East Village.
“The precinct has created a new Cabaret Unit, with cops assigned to patrol the bar-crowded area between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” the story noted. We reported on the return of the cabaret unit in December.
On Monday, we reported about the 7th Precinct’s new crackdown on the Lower East Side’s bars and clubs. At a Community Board 3 meeting last night, District Manager Susan Stetzer offered a bit more information. She said the precinct has reinstated its cabaret unit, a special squad assigned to deal specifically with nightlife-related issues.
The unit was formed to combat an uptick in crime inside some of the neighborhood’s bars. As 7th Precinct Deputy Inspector Nancy Barry explained during a community meeting a few days ago, there have been quite a few reports of stolen purses, cell phones and other items from LES establishments in recent months.
There was an interesting exchange at last night's Community Board 3 meeting concerning the elimination of the NYPD's specialized "quality of life teams." Sometimes referred to as "cabaret units," they focused on enforcement of laws at clubs, bars and restaurants. Late last year, the Police commissioner ordered some precincts to disband the teams, saying ""the reassignment of some of these specialized units has allowed more
police officers and supervisors to be deployed for patrol purposes and
has "allowed greater focus on quality-of-life issues." Last night, District Manager Susan Stetzer said she's hearing from club owners who believe disbanding the specialized groups was a mistake — that the officers now responding to problems at bars and clubs are less knowledegeable. CB3 member David Mcwater strongly objected to the notion that the cabaret units were helpful. He asserted that they abused their powers, calling their raids on various establishments "political torture in the neighborhood." McWater, former CB3 chairman and a current member of the committee that evaluates liquor licenses, owns several bars.