As noted back in April, the 7th Precinct has a new commanding officer, Captain Joseph Simonetti. At last week’s monthly community council meeting, residents and business owners turned out to hear what he had to say about crime in the Lower East Side precinct.
Simonetti noted that there had been an uptick in a couple of areas. The precinct saw 14 robberies in the 28-period ending May 12 (resulting in 12 arrests). There were 10 felony assaults (resulting in 10 arrests). But the captain said the crime category driving the LES statistics is Grand Larceny (property theft). It accounts for 48% of crime, he said. Simonetti made it very clear where he’s focusing his energies: inside the Lower East Side’s bars and restaurants, where purses, cell phones and other personal items are most often swiped.
In his first month on the job, Simonetti said, he’d spent a lot of time meeting bar owners, staying out on the streets some mornings until 6 or 7 a.m. “I see major strides in addressing my concerns,” said the captain, adding that most nightlife operators had been very receptive to helping deal with the problem. “It’s a good thing for businesses to be working with the precinct and the community,” he added.
In a not very veiled warning to bar owners, however, Simonetti indicated he’s had a lot of experience dealing with nightlife and said he has used “all of the tools available” to the police department, including inter-agency raids of businesses. “We’re seeing first hand who’s complying with the law and who isn’t,” said Simonetti.