At the community meeting at the local 76th Police Precinct last night, the new commander, Capt. Jeffrey Schiff, told a packed room that an uptick in worrisome robberies in the Bococa area is linked to gang activity in Red Hook.
“What happens in Red Hook affects what happens in Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill,” Schiff said.
About 60 people turned out for the monthly meeting to express concern about recent robberies in the area. Schiff said that two gangs were vying for control of Red Hook. The gangs, Mad Dogs and Stone Cold Villains, ordered kids to rob in Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, he said.
Most of the robberies are done by 14 to 16 year old kids, including girls, Schiff said.
A gang power-play played a role. A “bad guy” had returned to the Red Hook Houses to take control. The NYPD flooded the area to deal with the problem after three shootings. So much heat was put on the area that the man fled to Ohio. The NYPD pursued him there and arrested him, Schiff said.
“Three, four weeks ago, we had a big problem with the robberies, no doubt,” Schiff said. A suspect was apprehended and since then, things have gotten better, he said. In the last two weeks, there have only been three robberies, he said.
“There’s no doubt that these teenagers are causing problems in our communities,” he said.
The owner of the Sugar Shop in Cobble Hill, on Baltic Street near Court, said that her candy store has been targeted by teen shoplifters, who came in to rob the store every few days at the end of summer. Recently, about 40 kids, aged 13 to 16, came in at once and stole a huge amount of the shop’s inventory.
“They were intimidating and scary,” the shop owner said. She said it took too long for the police to arrive and she got a follow up four days later.
“It’s escalating, and we don’t feel like we are getting support,” she said. “Maybe it’s only candy but I don’t want my employees put in danger. We’ve put in security cameras, we’ve hired security guards. We wanted to open a store that makes everyone happy and we are victimized every other day.”
Schiff said everyone should download iCloud onto their Apple devices, especially iPhones, which are the most popularly-targetted item for thieves in NYC. “Why anyone wouldn’t install it, I don’t know,” he said. The feature allows the police to track stolen Apple equipment.
However, despite several worrisome incidents, robberies are still down this year over last, he said. So far this year there have been 75 robberies in the Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Cobble Hill and Gowanus area covered by the 76, compared to 91 at this time last year. Robberies are up 19 percent over 2 years ago, year over year, but down 21 percent in an 11 year period.