The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Upper West Side Precinct Commander Leaving After Two-and-a-Half Years

By Emily Frost | December 7, 2016 4:34pm
 Deputy Inspector Marlon Larin led the 24th Precinct for two years and eight months.
Deputy Inspector Marlon Larin led the 24th Precinct for two years and eight months.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — It's a job with a shelf life.

The commanding officer who led the neighborhood's 24th Precinct for more than two-and-a-half years has moved on to a new role.

Deputy Inspector Marlon Larin will now serve as Executive Officer of Housing Borough Bronx/Queens, overseeing the NYPD officers who patrol NYCHA developments in those boroughs, he said. 

Capt. William Burke — who previously oversaw 18 NYCHA developments in the 24th, 26th, and the 32nd precincts — will take over as the precinct's new head officer. 

Larin joined the 24th Precinct, which runs from West 86th Street to West 110th Street, in April 2014 and was promoted from captain to deputy inspector in 2015.

Early in his time as commanding officer, the Upper West Side suffered a series of pedestrian traffic fatalities in the West 90s, which he said became one of his top priorities.

"That year it just went from bad to worse," Larin said in an interview Wednesday. In all, seven people, both pedestrians and cyclists, died in car crashes in the precinct in 2014, making it the deadliest year on local streets in recent memory. 

"It was a challenge to assess what exactly was happening," he explained, but elected officials, the Department of Transportation and the precinct worked together to find solutions.

"Nobody dragged their feet with that. Everybody mobilized."

Tackling the issue meant keeping the precinct's officers focused on staying ahead of the next crash, as well as finding and patrolling hot spots, Larin said. 

"I had to be the mouthpiece of [the effort]," he noted. "I had to be the lead supporter... If I stay mum about it, then [the officers'] priorities will be elsewhere."

The next year, there was only one traffic fatality, which Larin counted as a major victory during his tenure.

In his meeting with Burke Tuesday, Larin said he told the new commanding officer to keep his focus on traffic issues along the 96th Street corridor. 

"It’s so busy, so congested, so heavily traveled," Larin said. 

Because Burke's previous post included NYCHA developments within the 24th Precinct, the new precinct boss is aware and very familiar with gangs based out of the Douglass Houses and the Wise Towers, Larin explained. 

"He knows the membership. He knows most recent events. He knows that social media is critical. And any calls we get for shots fired, he knows to monitor those to try to predict where the heat is going to come from," he added of Burke's experience.

A post on the Upper West Side requires attention not just to violent crime, but also property theft, which is avoidable but hard to fight, Larin said.

People leave their purses and bags unattended, home health aides or other home workers steal checkbooks and jewelry, and these types of incidents account for many of the thefts recorded by the precinct, he said.

"My advice to [Burke] is to be ready for that and to keep pushing that message out to alert the community to mind their own items," he said. "There really has to be a sustained and aggressive information campaign."

In terms of spreading crime-prevention information, Larin said that if he'd had more time, he would have worked even harder to encourage the public to attend precinct meetings and for officers to continue attending community meetings. 

He'd like for the public to understand how specialized the work of their local police officers is — from domestic violence officers to those monitoring schools to the anti-graffiti officer.

"We’re more than just the traditional summons-writing, apprehending-persons-for-crimes operation," he said. "It’s very multifaceted. I would like people to see the level of dedication. [The officers] do it with such finesse."

Ultimately, Larin's move out of the precinct was expected. 

"The job of a police commander is a 24-hour commitment," with the typical tenure lasting three years, he told DNAinfo in an interview in the spring

However, the turnover shouldn't be cause for concern.

"My message to the community is not to fret, because the team will typically be the same. All of the people that are standing behind me — the domestic violence officers, the traffic safety officers, the crime prevention officer, community affairs officers — that team stays intact. Really what you're seeing is just a new face to the precinct," he said previously.

"I feel comfortable that the community is going to be in good hands with Captain Burke," he noted this week, adding he said goodbye to every officer at the precinct. 

"I’m very grateful to the entire staff of the 24th Precinct for helping me get through it. Thank God for them."