Coney Island summer season off to a great start, say cops

Besides the sun,surf, food and rides, residents of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights andBensonhurst have even more of a reason to cool off in Coney Islandthis summer – it’s the safest it’s been in years.

At the mostrecent Bensonhurst West End Community Council meeting, Captain JohnChell, executive officer of the 60th Precinct, saidthat, so far this year, crime is gone down 16 percent from lastyear.

“We had anextremely busy Memorial Day weekend – over 100,000 people came toConey Island – and there was not one violent crime the wholeweekend,” Chell said, noting that during Memorial Day weekend 2010,there was one shooting and four to five peoplestabbed. He chalked up the improvement to acollaborative effort between city workers.

“The PoliceDepartment, the Fire Department and the Sanitation Department allworked together for the effort,” Chell commented.“For every eight cops on the street, there is one sergeant. Thatmeans there were almost 64 cops on duty this weekend and we plan tokeep it that way the whole summer. It’s all about having a minoromnipresence.”

Chell also addedthat there were just two homicides so far this year, compared tofive for the same period in 2010; and six rapes, which were evenlyspread out through the precinct’s area. “While all rape isabsolutely awful, these were domestic incidents – no heinousjumping out of bushes stuff,” he said, noting that the number ofshootings remained the same as last year.

Beachgoers of allages said they felt safer over Memorial Day weekend due to theincreased police presence. Abraham Mahamoue, 16, astudent at Fort Hamilton High School and a Bensonhurst resident,said that he definitely felt at ease. “I did see more cops around –it was good,” he said.

His friend, AhmedHaridi, also 16 and a student at Fort Hamilton, agreed. “I saw morecops watching out for everyone. They were patrolling the boardwalk.I felt a lot safer,” he said.

Even 82-year-oldClaire Nelson, of Bay Ridge, said she walked without fear throughLuna Park over Memorial Day weekend – all by herself.“I did see police inside Luna Park itself,” she said.“I felt just fine.”

Davon Adams, 22,of Bay Ridge, visited the beach and said he saw undercover policeofficers patrolling the beach. “I think it’s a great idea and Idefinitely feel safer.”

Chell promised tokeep up the police presence during all events in Coney Island overthe summer – including the new Monday night movies, shown near theCyclone and sponsored by the Coney Island District Council; MartyMarkowitz’s Thursday night concerts, which will now be held at SurfAvenue and West 21 Street instead of Asser Levy Park in July andAugust; the Mermaid Parade on June 18 and the fireworks that willtake place every Friday night on the boardwalk starting June17.

“I hope I didn’tjust jinx myself, but we are hopeful that we should have a verynice season,” Chell said. “Having cops standing on corners, withhats on, looking sharp – it sends a great message.”

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