Thursday, October 03, 2013

NYPD on Barclays Center in 2013: no violent crimes, more summonses than arrests, ongoing question of how TEAs prioritize traffic flow over parking enforcement

There have been few major crimes, and no violent crimes at and around the Barclays Center, according to 2013 statistics described at the bimonthly Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting on 9/26/13.

New York Police Department Sgt. Angelo Pirozzi, who heads the 78th Precinct Barclays detail described, for the first time to my knowledge, the full list of arrests, summonses, and categorization of Barclays-related 911 and 311 calls for 2013. (The NYPD has not provided statistics for the three-plus months of the arena's opening last year.)

Looking at statistics

Pirozzi said there were seven reports of grand larceny, none of them violent crimes, at and outside the arena, mainly involving such things as theft of unattended bags.

There were 45 arrests outside or inside the arena, such as for illegal scalping, unlicensed vendors, and trespassing.

There could have been more arrests, but there were 151 Criminal Summonses issued for quality of life offenses, including drinking in public, disorderly conduct, and public urination. Such summonses could lead to an arrest if the person has outstanding warrants, but otherwise can be disposed of with a court appearance.

Categorizing 949 calls to the complaint number 311 that regarded the arena and blocks nearby--but not necessarily attributable to the arena--Pirozzi said there were 307 calls for illegal parking, 137 for commercial noise (again, which could be attributed to bars nearby, not the arena), 96 for street/sidewalk noise, 11 for traffic, and four for public urination.

There were 121 complaints generated with the Barclays Center address that generated a police response, including loss of phones or altercations.

That number of complaints overlaps in some unspecified way with the 133 calls to the emergency number 911 regarding situations that needed a police response at or around the arena

Illegal parking

The NYPD Barclays Center detail issued 1100 summonses for illegal parking--a number that some neighbors think low.

The issue of illegal parking provoked a follow-up from Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council and BrooklynSpeaks. "Would it be fair to say the 78th Precinct considers illegal parking around arena to be a problem?"

"It's a challenge," countered Pirozzi.

Forest City Ratner's Ashley Cotton asked if the NYPD statistics correlated illegal parking to Barclays Center events.

Pirozzi said they didn't have those statistics.

Veconi pointed out that 311 does log the time. Steve Ettlinger, a contributor to Atlantic Yards Watch, noted that website also logs the time of incidents.

At the same meeting, the city Department of Transportation produced a report saying that there was still free parking available near the arena--a finding neighbors found dubious.

Improving the situation

Veconi asked if the 78th could suggest anything to improve enforcement of parking.

"I can guarantee we go out and give a 100% effort," Pirozzi said, "but the reality is it's impossible to get to every violation... sometimes resources do not permit."

That led several people at the meeting to ask how resources might be allocated.

While the Barclays Center pays for Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEAs) managed by NYPD, those TEAs focus on moving traffic, while another stratum of TEAs in the city focuses on illegal parking.

"Parking's going to be a challenge," commented Terence Kelly, the arena's community relations manager. "It's not a problem."

"It's a challenge for you, but a problem for community," countered one resident. "These cars are parking at hydrants, bus stops."

The TEAs, noted Pirozzi, "fall under NYPD umbrella but are not controlled by us." The TEAs, he acknowledged, "see traffic as a major problem... They put all their resources into making sure traffic flows."

He noted that when NYPD shut down Atlantic Avenue after Jay-Z concert attendees swarmed the street post-concert in September 2012, that was seen as something to avoid. "[The] Traffic [division] looks at the fact that we shut down street--it affects whole borough," he said.

He said that, perhaps, in discussion with Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, who heads the 78th Precinct, new TEAs could be deployed.

"We're happy to to have that conversation," Kelly said.

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