MIDTOWN — Petty crime and noise complaints come with the territory when running a bar, club or restaurant in New York City — but one NYPD lieutenant has taken a more active role by launching a new coalition of nightlife owners to tackle the issues.
Lieutenant John Cocchi of the Midtown North Precinct founded the group at the end of Septemeber, bringing together more than a dozen bar, club and restaurant managers and owners to discuss neighborhood relations, trade information about recent thefts, and distribute mug shots of known pickpockets and thieves.
More 30 establishments are on the group's mailing list, Cocchi said, and the roster is still growing.
"We have a problem, we solve it," he said at a meeting of the precinct's community council last week. "It works out pretty well."
He also encouraged residents at the meeting to reach out to the group if they had any problems with certain bars or restaurants.
Danny DePamphilis, the general manager of popular Ninth Avenue watering hole Rudy's Bar and Grill, hailed the new group as "great news" in an interview with DNAinfo.com New York.
"It was welcome," DePamphilis said. "The police department is reaching out to the bars, they want to work with us, they want to keep crime stats down. And as a business person, you want to do the same thing."
He added that the group can help address incidents like patrons having their pocketbooks or computers stolen in bars.
"As much as you want these things not to happen as a bar operator or club or restaurant, they do," he said. "You can't always prevent that stuff from happening, but you can help."
"Being able to converse with other bar owners and bar operators, it's good," he said. "Increase communication between the different establishments."
Residents encouraged bar owners and the police department to use the group as an opportunity to reinforce rules governing bar, club and restaurant noise.
"We applaud the police department for taking an active role," said Bob Minor, head of the HK5051 Neighborhood Association. "Most of the community's objections are what takes place on our streets and the noise emanating from the establishment. There are rules that should be sufficient to control the noise emanating from the establishment, but they have to be strictly enforced. That's what we're looking for."