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Cops, Community Into Truck-Busting For the Long Haul

For residents of East Flatbush, the year 2006 has brought an increased focus on problems caused by trucks, as the 67th Precinct has taken a “zero tolerance” policy toward trucks traveling on non-truck routes as well as toward trucks parked illegally. Inspector Robert Boyce, the precinct’s commanding officer, told members of Community Board 17, gathered at Meyer Levin Intermediate School, I.S. 285, 5909 Beverley Road, that, in the 67th Precinct, the New Year had brought with it “Operation Long Haul,” in response to complaints from area residents. Since the beginning of the year, Boyce said, the precinct had “written 90 summonses.” The night before the community board meeting, he added, the precinct had towed eight tractor trailers that were parked where they shouldn’t be. “The truck drivers are pretty slick,” Boyce remarked. “They are taking off the license plates so we can’t write the summons, but we put them on a hook and we tow them away.” The application of a “zero tolerance policy” to truck violations, said Boyce, means “That every officer in the command is accountable, and they have no discretion. They have to write the summons. “It’s gotten to the point where house foundations are shaking. We are not going to tolerate that anymore,” Boyce emphasized. “Every police officer in the 67th Precinct is involved in this.” The precinct has also begun beefing up its presence along the community’s commercial strips, said Boyce. With a grand total of 88 new officers, Boyce said that 60 have been dedicated to the precinct’s impact zones. The remaining officers, he said, will be “foot posts” on Church Avenue and other shopping streets, such as Rutland Road and Nostrand Avenue, “High visibility, to deter crime.” Most of the officers, said Boyce, will be on scooter patrol rather than actually on foot. “I believe scooters enhance the visibility of the officers,” Boyce explained. “We’re happy to have them,” Boyce said of the new officers. “We are getting back up to the strength we had before 9/11.” Even with fewer officers than in previous years, the 67th Precinct finished 2005, “Down significantly in violent crime, mostly homicides and shootings,” Boyce reported. Homicides were down 25 percent, compared to the year before, he said, and shooting were down 10 percent. In addition, Boyce said, rape was down in the precinct 27 percent, he said. The two problematic areas for the precinct in 2005 were grand larceny and burglary, said Boyce. As of December 18, 2005, according to CompStat, the precinct was up .3 percent in grand larcenies, year to date, and up 2.4 percent in burglaries. There were 606 grand larcenies, year to date, in 2005, compared with 604 in 2004, and 510 burglaries, year to date, in 2005, compared with 498 in 2004. Robberies were also up, 3.4 percent, compared with the same time in 2004. There were 485 robberies, year to date, as of December 18, 2005, compared with 469 at the same time in 2004. “Identity theft was our biggest problem this year,” Boyce told his listeners. To combat identity theft, Boyce recommended that area residents secure their mailboxes, so that it is difficult for someone to steal mail that might contain sensitive personal information. Overall, as of December 18th, the precinct was down 3.13 percent in the seven major index crimes.

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