CHELSEA — In the wake of a wave of anti-gay attacks around Manhattan, the 10th Precinct's new commanding officer pledged to tamp down on potential additional attacks in the area.
Captain David Miller, who took over the 10th Precinct from Deputy Inspector Elisa Cokkinos earlier this month, unveiled a host of ramped-up patrols in the area, as well as proactive efforts to prevent copycat crimes, in his first face-to-face with the locals at Wednesday night's Community Council meeting.
Miller said increased patrols included more officers along the Eighth Avenue corridor, which has a number of gay bars, as well as other hubs for the LGBT community in the wake of a series of anti-gay attacks including the beating of a gay couple near Madison Square Garden and the shooting death of 32-year-old Mark Carson.
Miller compared the proactive attempts to prevent subsequent "copycat" anti-gay attacks to the way in which the NYPD tries to head off copycats following other violent incidents.
"It's like a terrorist attack or a bombing. We don't need the copycats, and that's what we're trying to prevent," he said, "We're not looking for any repeats."
He added that his officers would respond to every report of a possible hate crime with seriousness, even if initial evidence remained unclear whether it qualified as a hate crime.
"If there's just that little hint, because somebody said something, they're still treating it like it is," he said.
Locals welcomed Miller with open arms on Wednesday, while praising Cokkinos for her tireless work over the course of her time in the precinct fighting the neighborhood's crime and quality of life problems.
Miller himself presented a plaque on behalf of Community Board 4 thanking Cokkinos, who took over the Sixth Precinct, for her work.
"It was a great ride, it was a load of fun, and I thank you for all for everything," Cokkinos said, shortly before going to the Sixth Precinct's Community Council meeting, where Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke about the anti-gay attacks.
"I left you in great hands," she added.
Miller worked under Cokkinos as a lieutenant when she first took over the precinct over three years ago. He left the 10th to take over as executive officer at the Seventh Precinct shortly after.
"Looking at things, it looks very good here," Miller said of the rapidly developing neighborhood.
"It's been a great success and I hope to continue with the success and progress Inspector Cokkinos made."