By Charles Hack
Auxiliary cops are putting their lives on the line, patrolling Brooklyn’s streets without the benefit of body armor to protect them, says the president of the Midwood Civic Action Council (MCAC).So Sandy Aboulafia, president of the MCAC, recently donated a bullet-proof vest to the 70th Precinct on behalf of the civic in memory of recently slain Police Officer Dillon Stewart.She announced, at the council’s Feb. 6 meeting at Caraville Restaurant, 1910 Ave. M., that she wants to donate another vest in memory of Police Officer Francis Hennessy, who died from an aneurysm responding to a 911 call on Flatbush Avenue recently.As vice-president of the 70th Precinct Community Council, Aboulafia raised funds a few years ago to buy 12 bullet-proof vests, equipping every auxiliary cop at the time with a flak jacket.Since that time, more auxiliary officers have been recruited so more bullet-proof vests are needed, said Aboulafia.Each jacket costs $385. People and organizations who want to donate money can call her at (718) 627-1804.“I don’t want to see any of the guys out there unprotected,” Aboulafia said. “We don’t want to lose anyone.”Deputy Inspector Thomas J. Harris, recently appointed commanding officer of the 70th Precinct, said he had worked at the command for 15 months some four years ago – and all of the auxiliary cops had body armor, thanks to Aboulafia.When he moved out of the precinct – he has worked in 10 commands and has been the commanding officer for the 76th and 78th Precincts — Harris was surprised to find that auxiliaries had no body armor.“I was embarrassed and shocked that none of the auxiliary cops have vests out of this precinct, and I didn’t know that,” he said. “I was spoiled by the work that Sandy does at the council.”Harris said he was happy to be back at the 70th Precinct.“There is no place in the world to be a cop like the 70th Precinct,” said Harris. “I am happy to working with this community again.”Harris said that more needs to be done to eradicate graffiti from the precinct.He said that the police respond to 311 calls by getting waivers signed from owners of tagged properties.They then clean up the property with a team from the Mayor’s or Borough President’s office.But he said the challenge is to keep the property clean, especially in the winter when it is too cold for clean-ups.Harris added that he will target more resources to Avenues M and J, where there is a lot of graffiti.“We can’t call them ‘graffiti artists’ anymore,” Harris said. “We have to call them ‘graffiti criminals’ because they are criminals.”Under the Mayor’s Office camera program, closed-circuit television cameras would be placed in higher crime areas to catch and identify perpetrators, Harris said.Harris said that he is targeting his 150 new officers to two new Impact Zones. One runs between Parkside Avenue and Cortelyou Road, and Marlborough Road to Flatbush Avenue.The other Impact Zone has 30 new cops assigned to the Junction at Nostrand and Flatbush avenues. He says these areas account for 40 percent of all crimes committed in the precinct.By focusing his new officers to these high-crime areas, Harris is able to dedicate his 220 other cops to the rest of the precinct, where 60 percent of the crimes occur.Harris says that the NYPD collects crime data about where crimes are committed. This helps the police decide where to target resources. But he says that officers must never forget that each crime represents an individual’s misfortune or tragedy.“We see the numbers and dots on the map and we are driven by that a little bit too much,” said Harris. “But we have to remember that behind those dots are victims. I want to get officers out to talk to the people.”One resident complained that people were partying several times a month on Elm Avenue, at the back Avenue M, between East 17th and East 18th streets. Young people from other areas congregate until 5 a.m. being rowdy, drinking booze, playing basketball against the wall and leaving beer bottles, liquor bottles and trash behind.The problem gets worse on the weekends, and sometimes during the week, she said.Harris said he would focus patrols there, but advised the resident to call 311 or 911 with a description when the problem was happening.The resident says she found 311 unresponsive.“311 isn’t coming out,” she said. “The only time they came out was when there was drag racing.”The resident says she wants better response from the precinct over the problem.“This has been going on for years,” she said. “They will not come out unless someone is being killed or bullets are being fired into someone’s body,” she said.A senior who lives on East 17th Street complained that her neighbor had unfairly received a $300 sanitation ticket for trash that collected outside the person’s home.She said she would have received a ticket for her own home had she not been sweeping the sidewalk at the time. Much of the trash carries the insignia of a well-known donut and coffee chain, she said.She said that trash, left by other people, blows in front of buildings along her street, and then homeowners get unfairly ticketed.Sgt. Vinny Galeno, community affairs officer for the 66th Precinct, told residents to call (718) 851-5601 to report problems in the neighborhood. Galeno said that complaints regarding illegal posters on city property should be reported via 311 to the Sanitation Department, or to the Parks Department when posted on trees.