2002-04-18 / Front Page


By Charles Rogers
Canarsie Courier


"We’re hitting the ground running," said Captain Robert Johnsen, the new commanding officer of the 69th Precinct, as he, along with his Executive Officer Captain Mark Novak, took over and mapped plans for combating crime in the Canarsie area.

For starters, there has been an increase in manpower here, with ten new recruits being assigned within the past two weeks. Combine that with some special strategies that Johnsen and Novak are working on and the combination shows a lot of potential.

For the first time in the past two months, crime statistics within the 69th Precinct area are on "a decided decrease," according to Captain Novak.

"We can hope that the descent continues," he said. "So far, some of the new tactics being implemented by this command seem to be working."

Descending about 28 percent from the middle of February, the statistics home in more specifically on burglaries, robberies, grand larcenies and auto thefts.

"We’ll be having our burglary, robbery and grand larceny-auto squads aiming for certain mapped-out areas," said Captain Novak. "It will be different from day to day and week to week, unless there is a specific section that seems to be targeted by perpetrators."

He noted the recent arrests of youths who were caught allegedly burglarizing a construction site this week and others caught driving a stolen vehicle. Those arrests, coupled with the arrests of three other burglary suspects and a couple of purse-snatching suspects at the end of March, helps to push the local record in a positive direction.

Auto thefts are a big problem in the local area, according to Captain Johnsen, who noted that local Anti Crime Unit officers are watching out for "fencing" operations, where cars — and even parts of vehicles, including air bags — are at a premium.

Other operations to be given scrutiny in the coming weeks and months are burglaries within the residential sections of the precinct area.

"We’re trying to educate the public on precautions to take when they leave their house, including for extended periods. There are many things they can do to protect their own property," said Captain Novak.

"Gradually, as our plans and new programs come into motion, we’ll be gratified to see crime statistics continue to descend in the precinct area," he added.

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