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Gearing Up in Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay has a new commanding officer at the 17th Precinct. Captain Kevin Ward joined the 17th on September 20 of this year. A friend of his father, who had been a police officer for 30 years, telephoned to congratulate him, saying, "someone is looking after you; the 17th is the Gold Coast."

Captain Ward graduated from John Jay College and received his law degree from New York Law School. His brother is also a police captain, as was their father before them. Ward has worked in many New York neighborhoods: Midtown North anti-crime officer; eight years in the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn, Internal Affairs Bureau, and executive officer of Midtown South. He rose through the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant, and, only 14 years after he entered the Police Academy, captain.

The new precinct commander has a number of goals to make the 17th an even safer neighborhood. One of the first is to improve the quality of life by getting the homeless off the streets and into shelters. His officers are also using enforcement techniques to improve the traffic and noise problems in the precinct.

Another major project is to strengthen security in the office buildings. Wearing shirts and ties, looking as though they worked there, thieves walk in and remove wallets from jackets and purses left on desks and chairs. These criminals are surveyed on tape and then must be tracked down. Through lectures and seminars given by the 17th, employees at businesses in the neighborhood are learning to be cautious and not leave their possessions in full view.

While people in the 17th are reasonably responsible about reporting crimes, one area that needs improvement is called unattended property. Handbags hung over the backs of chairs or placed on the floor in restaurants, bars or shops have a way of disappearing. Too often possessions are left in parked cars. A thief walking past a parked car will surmise that a package inside holds a computer. He makes a cost/benefit analysis (will the price he can get for the object be worth the risk of getting caught?) and then carries off the computer or golf clubs. All these crimes need to be reported.

Constant vigilance helps keep Turtle Bay's crime figures low. Weekly statistics are recorded to determine what offenses are being perpetrated and where. This identifies any pattern in violations. Crimes that go unreported impede the investigative process. Crime is kept in check in this precinct because there are no large clubs to attract the unsavory characters who often bring crime to a neighborhood.

There is some concern about unsavory characters flowing into Turtle Bay from Times Square on New Year's Eve. At press time Detective Jim Kelly said the 17th Precinct is in the process of formulating response to emergencies. On a city-wide level the biggest problem is Times Square. The primary solution at the 17th will be "additional personnel." This will take the form of extended shifts and canceled leaves for the 160 officers of our precinct. There will be roving mobile patrols. A survey is being conducted of restaurants, bars, and hotels in Turtle Bay so that the police can get a feel for how many additional people will be in the neighborhood to celebrate the millennium. Merchants, restaurateurs, bar owners or anyone planning a large event in the neighborhood should contact Detectives Kelly and Bogucki at the 17th: telephone 826-3224 or 3228 or fax 826-3243.

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The Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community organization.

224 East 47th Street, New York City 10017
(212) 751-5465
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