Captain Peter Venice.
The NYPD’s monthly “community council meetings” are in all honestly not generally the most newsworthy events in the world. But last week’s 7th Precinct gathering was actually pretty informative, although the most relevant details about crime in the neighborhood were made apparent in a fairly roundabout way.
The news came by way of the regular “police officer of the month awards,” given by Captain Peter Venice, the precinct’s commanding officer, to cops who have gone “above and beyond the call of duty.” The awards were presented to police officers Jeffrey Millenbach, Steven Stiller, Paul Pedersen, Brian Little and Sergeant Stephen Spataro. In one way or another, they were all involved in arrests for gun-related charges in recent weeks.
There’s been a lot of coverage in the tabloids the past few months about the rising crime rate in New York City. Just today, the Daily News reported there have been 59 murders in North Brooklyn this year (there were 43 in the same period last year). Citywide the murder rate is up 11 percent. But what’s the story on the Lower East Side?
Here’s a snapshot of the neighborhood’s three precincts, based on the NYPD’s controversial CompStat figures:
The Village Voice got its hands on hundreds of hours of secretly recorded tapes made by a disgruntled police officer in Bed-Stuy’s 81st Precinct. The recordings – which will be released on the Voice’s web site in batches – offer a revealing and disturbing look inside the NYPD, where there’s a relentless push to drive crime stats down. The question, of course, will be asked: are these pressures unique to the 81st, or is what’s happening there typical of precincts citywide? Here’s how reporter Graham Rayman sets up the story: