At the Ninth Precinct, It Looks a Lot Like Christmas

Steve Torres, 7 with his familyAnnie FairmanSteve Torres with family, after winning a bicycle in a “Gangnam Style” danceoff

Last Saturday got off to an early start at the Ninth Precinct.

At 2:30am, police were called to Beth Israel Hospital after an 18 year-old man entered the emergency room claiming to have been shot in the hand in Campos Plaza. When the building’s management, as well as Ninth Precinct officers posted to the NYCHA property that evening, disputed the account, the man admitted to having been shot accidentally in FDR Park when handed the gun by a friend. The young man, who lives on East 13th Street but is not a resident of Campos Plaza, was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon.

Jaylynn, 9 and SantaAnnie FairmanJaylynn, 9 and Santa

In the meantime, organizers of the Ninth Precinct’s Annual Christmas Party Giveaway arrived as early as 4am to set up for the event. Local families began lining up in the early morning hours for the chance to receive a gift from none other than Santa Claus himself, on loan from Macy’s.

Three and a half year-old Alicia Pagan waited in line with her mother, Teresa Mojica, for nearly two and a half hours to see Santa, who gave her a doll. Members of the NYPD Explorers youth program served hot cocoa to families as they waited on a line wrapping around the playground across the street and extending down to the corner of East Fifth Street and Second Avenue.

Steve Torres, 7, won a bicycle for his performance in a dance-off to “Gangnam Style” officiated by Detective Jaimie Hernandez of the Precinct’s Community Affairs department. His parents brought him to the event, along with his brothers and cousins ranging in age from five to twelve years old. Asked what motivated his performance, the seven year-old explained, “sometimes when I’m really hot I get more energy so that’s why I had so much energy today,” he said, breaking into another performance as the music resumed.

The event was the first for Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann, the commanding officer of the Ninth Precinct, who previously worked uptown and in the Bronx. At the Community Council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, Cappelmann reported that in addition to his first toy giveaway, Saturday also involved his first experience with Santacon. “I had no idea what it was,” said Cappelmann, who said that approximately 37 quality of life summonses were issued in the Ninth Precinct alone that night for public intoxication, among other acts.

“I do now,” said Cappelmann.

With the holiday season approaching, the typical yearly spike in robberies has been largely absent, though grand larcenies are on the rise. To date, such crimes make up 55 percent of what the Precinct has observed this year. Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, Deputy Inspector Cappelmann said that while the increase is “not egregious,” there are a couple of incidents that he described as “raising our eyebrows.”

Among them is a rise in identity theft from credit cards and debit cards. Though police caution residents to be on the lookout for skimming devices affixed to ATMs, which offer thieves a means of copying card data, no such devices have been reported in the Ninth. Residents should refrain from putting sensitive banking documents in the trash, according to Cappelmann, as well as from giving out credit card or social security numbers over the phone.

Neighborhood bars and nightclubs also continue to feel the rise in grand larcenies. Last weekend saw three incidents at Bowery Electric and Phebe’s. “According to what the victims are stating, they don’t know and didn’t see the person who picked them or even dipped their pocketbooks,” said Cappelmann, who emphasized that such crimes appear to be the act of experienced thieves. “So definitely going to say its somebody along the same lines.” In October, arrests were made for bag boosting at the Bowery Electric.