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D.A. Touts Neighborhood Offices

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It’s almost like coming home. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes, a Bay Ridge resident, stopped by to address members of Community Board 10, gathered at St. Anselm’s Meletia Hall, 83rd Street and Fourth Avenue, for the board’s January meeting. In a brief speech, Hynes – who has been Kings County D.A. since 1989 —focused on his office’s initiative to open neighborhood offices in various parts of the borough. Brooklyn, Hynes said, is, “The only county in the city and probably the state that has these.” The neighborhood office program, said Hynes, began in 2003, in large part to make it easier for the borough’s 400,000 senior citizens to, “Make it easy for them to access our office and our services, so they don’t have to go all the way downtown to 350 Jay Street, our central office. “But, as the concept evolved,” he continued, “it became clear that it was much more effective for constituent services. It’s not just about the criminal justice system or public safety. We access information for our constituents from state, city and federal agencies. And a letter or a phone call from a representative of the district attorney has a lot more clout than the ordinary citizen making the call. That’s a reality.” The initiative, he stressed, is, “In keeping with my belief, which I think is consistent with the conclusion of most law enforcement people, that one of the tools to public safety is communication. The more you extend the lines of communication, the better handle you have on the particular problems that exist in different communities. “For example,” Hynes went on, “we’re able to access information from these community centers about increased drug activity or gang activity or prostitution or burglary gangs or robbery gangs.” So far, the D.A.’s office has opened 12 neighborhood offices, with six more due to open this year. “The goal,” said Hynes, “is ultimately to have 25 of these offices around the county in the next year or so.” Among the offices due to open this year, he said, is one in Dyker Heights, in conjunction with the Catholic Migration Office, “To deal with the documented as well as the undocumented people in our county.” “As information about these centers becomes known,” said Hynes, “we get more and more business.” Currently, he said, each of the neighborhood offices averages about 15 visits on the day it is open. Among the D.A.’s current neighborhood offices is one in Bay Ridge, at Family Care Certified Services, 405 91st Street (718-492-4530), which operates on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are two neighborhood offices in Bensonhurst, one at St. Athanasius Church, 2154 61st Street (718-234-8709), which also operates on Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and one at the Federation of Italian American Organizations, 7403 18th Avenue (718-236-2896), which operates on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In other parts of the borough, there is one Sunset Park location, at the Sunset Park 5th Avenue B.I.D., 476 51st Street (718-439-7869), which operates on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is also a location in Boro Park, at West End Gardens, 1002 44th Street (718-436-4034), which operates on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a Flatbush location, at Youth for Education and Sports, 681 Ocean Avenue (718-826-3673), which operates on Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is also one Coney Island location, the Coney Island Gospel Assembly, 2828 Neptune Avenue (718-373-3536) which operates on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; one Sheepshead Bay location, at Sunrise Senior Living, 2211 Emmons Avenue (718-769-2671), which operates on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and one Mill Basin location, at Mary Queen of Heaven, 1304 East 57th Street, which operates on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In northern Brooklyn, the D.A. has a Williamsburg location, at the People’s Firehouse, 113 Berry Street, (718-387-4340), which operates on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; one Bedford-Stuyvesant location, at Concord Family Services, 1221 Bedford Avenue (718-398-3154), which operates on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and one Greenpoint location, at St. Cecilia’s Church, 84 Herbert Street (718-389-1697), which operates on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For further information, call 718-250-2555, which is also the number to call to reach the D.A.’s neighborhood office at Mary Queen of Heaven.

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