Police intent on keeping Gerritsen Beach mischief-free this Halloween put on a show of force in the neighborhood on Monday, as two precincts stepped up patrols along Gerritsen Avenue and within Marine Park, where an army of egg-throwing teenagers bombed city buses, cars, and some pedestrians last year.
Dozens of cops from the 61st and 63rd precincts drove squad cars with their lights flashing along Gerritsen Avenue beginning at 1 pm, with some cars idling on corners and cops on scooters zipping in and out of the bushes thorough Marine Park along the avenue, where last year teens ran and hid after attacking vehicles with eggs, potatoes, and even rocks.
And cops weren’t the only ones on the streets making sure kids didn’t get out of line.
George Broadhead, a Marine Corps veteran and the President Gerritsen Beach Property Owners’ Association, organized a security patrol of like-minded residents who cruised trouble spots looking for teenagers who were up to no good
“We’re going to reconnaissance our whole area,” Broadhead, who earned a Silver Star while in the armed forces, said before heading out. “We’re going to be everywhere.”
Both police and Broadhead said that the show of force paid off, as no “bombing” incidents were reported, and no teens arrested.
“It’s been really quiet,” said Broadhead. “The police presence really made a difference.”
“We didn’t have any problems,” said a police source involved in the operation.
Residents credited the extra police presence — and a neighborhood patrol — for keeping teens in line this time around.
“[Cops] kept a tight leash this year,” said Dan Ene, a father of three who said he went trick-or-treating with his 10–14-year-old children to protect them in case they were ambushed by miscreants. “Last year kids were running rampant.”
The mayhem on All Hallow’s Eve in 2010 fractured the community after a blog posted a detailed account of the incident that included pictures of the teens allegedly involved that were taken from their Facebook pages.
The report prompted parents to criticize the 61st Precinct for allowing the fiasco to spiral out of control. In September, Deputy Inspector Georgios Mastrokostas told members of the 61st Precinct Community Council that he would put more boots on the ground to prevent teens from misbehaving — and he followed through on the promise.
Gerritsen Beach teens had a mixed reaction to the enforcement blitz.
Fourteen-year-old Victoria Van Duzer, who was hit with an egg last year, said she enjoyed an attack-free Halloween on Monday.
“It was better this year,” she said. “At least I didn’t get egged.”
But others kids said cops went overboard.
“It’s over the top,” said Ryan William, 17, who said he wasn’t involved in last year’s egg bath, but was hassled by police this Halloween. “Police were kicking us off the curb. We’re just teenagers.”Reach reporter Daniel Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-8310.
©2011 Community News Group
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