Three precinct councils come together in historic first

For the first time, three precinct community councils held ajoint meeting, and it happened right here in southwesternBrooklyn.

The first-of-its-kind conclave-held in late June at the Marion HeimSenior Center on Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park — brought togethermembers of the 62nd, the 68th and the 72nd Precinct CommunityCouncils, enabling residents from Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, DykerHeights, Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace to share ideasand concerns.

It’s nice to see the communities come together, noted DeputyInspector Jesus Raul Pintos, the commanding officer of the 72ndPrecinct in Sunset Park who acted as host to the group.

As people talk and start to share their stories, they start torealize they have the same problems – loud radios, crime in thestreet. And they share ideas about how things can get resolved, headded.

Ilene Sacco, the president of the 68th Precinct Community Council,agreed. What makes Brooklyn great are all the communities workingon different issues and working together with the police, shesaid.

Besides having the opportunity to put their heads together for thebetterment of all the neighborhoods they represent, those inattendance also had the chance to hear Brooklyn District AttorneyCharles Hynes — dubbed America’s district attorney by 62ndPrecinct Community Council President Lou Trimboli — who went oversome of the programs that his office has pioneered since he tookoffice in 1990.

Among these are drug treatment alternatives to prison, andcommunity re-entry support and educational services for theformerly incarcerated. Also available are the Family JusticeCenter, which provides a range of services to victims of domesticviolence all under one roof, and the Red Hook Community Court,which Hynes said has been a lynchpin in making the neighborhoodone of the five safest places in New York City. He hopes toreplicate this scenario soon in Brownsville.

Hynes said that the key to the programs’ success is that they aredesigned to help change behavior by providing structure andalternatives to the formerly incarcerated as well as people who usedrugs – people who were going to prison for life on theinstallment plan.

The result, he added, are dramatically reduced recidivism rates, asthe programs effectively Take people out of the criminal justicesystem and do something about bringing them into themainstream.

Recalling the high crime years when he first took office, Hynessaid he has frequently been asked, Will we ever go back to the wayit was in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s?

The answer, according to Hynes, is a resounding no. Brooklyn hasbecome one of the safest places in America, he said, and it isn’tever going back.

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