Attacks on 76 Pct Cops Doubled in 2012 Even as Crime Fell to Historic Lows
CARROLL GARDENS — Dozens of police officers in south Brooklyn's 76th Precinct were assaulted last year — more than twice as many as in 2011 — even as the area's crime rate dropped to historic lows, police said.
There were 27 cops attacked in 2012, compared to 11 the previous year, NYPD Capt. Jeffrey Schiff, the precinct commander for the 76th, said at the precinct's monthly community council meeting Tuesday night.
The assaults ranged from officers who were punched or shot at, to suspects who spit blood at police, forcing officers to take a debilitating drug mixture known as the "AIDS Cocktail" for 30 days in case they were exposed to HIV.
"It's alarming to me. It's shocking," Schiff said. "I really am taken aback by that."
Attacks targeting cops were the overwhelming cause of a slight uptick in total assaults in the 76th Precinct, which polices Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and parts of Gowanus, Schiff said. Assaults there rose to 119 in 2012 from 96 the year before.
"The assaults on officers, this is of major concern to us," Judge Alex Calabrese, who presides over the Red Hook Community Justice Center, said at the meeting. "That's something we're going to make sure we pay attention to."
Overall, however, 2012 was a landmark year for the 76th Precinct. The precinct was one of just six in which no homicides were recorded in 2012.
Beyond murders, overall crime dipped by 1.26 percent, according to NYPD statistics.
"For first time is six years, crime is down in six categories," Schiff said at the meeting. "It might be a small decrease, but it’s a decrease. And that’s what we’re looking to do every year."
The recorded assaults on officers, the captain said, did not include occasions when suspects resisted arrest.
"During the course of wrestling with a perpetrator, if they happen to twist their ankle, that's not assault," Schiff explained.
If the figures were to include the number of cops hurt by suspects resisting arrest, "add another 20 instances where my officers have gotten hurt during incidents, trying to make sure the individual is taken down safely."
"It's a major concern," he added.
Schiff said he and his senior officers will work with cops in the coming weeks and months to promote working in teams, so as to reduce risks to individual officers. Nonetheless, he also emphasized that he would continue "encouraging my officers to be aggressive."
"We're crime fighters. I'm looking to fight crime. There's work to be done," Schiff said. "We're running after these suspects, we're catching them. It's worth it."