266 Elizabeth Street # 4    New York, NY 10012    Tel (212) 502 3591    Fax (212) 219 2176   Email sante@thing.net

October 6, 1998

Captain Steven Spataro
Commanding Officer
New York City Police Department
19 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10013

Dear Captain Spataro,

It was a pleasure to meet you at our last police community forum last September 30.

It is an honor and an asset to our community to be served by a veteran with such a distinguished record in fighting quality of life offenses. Our neighborhood is changing rapidly and its needs with it.

We are looking forward to a close working relationship, in the interest of mutual co-operation and satisfaction between the police force and community.

Our impression from our first, lively meeting is a positive one and the representatives of the communities covered by the 5th Precinct left the meeting with the impression that we have a lot of work to do together, but we are starting on the right foot to cure the many long-standing problems that pre-existed your stewardship.

Points of discussion at the meeting were:

1. Crime. Specifically a strand of armed robberies and aggressions which have been traced to perpetrators loitering (and possibly living) in or around 21 Spring Street (the LIRA housing development). The same group of youths seem also related to the drug trade taking place out of 192 Elizabeth Street, 2nd floor. They also behave in a menacing manner that has intimidated many residents, mostly on the South West corner of the intersection between Elizabeth and Spring Street, which they consider their turf.

As was said at the September 30 meeting, the community would warmly welcome the return of beat cops to that specific area and on the following 2 blocks (between Spring and Prince Streets, and between Prince and Houston Streets) of Elizabeth, Mott and Mulberry Streets.

2. Quality of life offenses and police response. In the future, the community expects a response to noise complaints, especially when coming from bars and night clubs, consistent with what was said at the September 30 meeting. Specifically, the logging of all reports coming from citizens, so that a track record can be built concerning specific locations that are repeat offenders.

To this end, we expect to have access to officers who are trained in the use of noise meters. As of September 30 it was not clear whether the only officer in force to the 5th Precinct who possesses such training was available to respond to calls, but we expect to hear from you soon on this and all other topics.

3. Issues of secrecy concerning the confidentiality of Police reports. Several instances were brought to your attention on September 30 of not only the content of reports, but the identity of complainants being disclosed to the person(s) against whom the complaints were filed. Such incidents are in blatant violation of the Police code of conduct and any civic interaction between Police and citizens. Our community is confident that you will make this clear to those in need and that no such incidents will ever take place again.

4. The re-occurrence of abusive bus parking in the southern reaches of the precinct, especially on Park Row and on Allen Street. It seems to us that this problem is easily resolvable: it is a matter of proper signage and posting a patrol at the times of the day when the offenses are most frequent. Charles Cafiero, Community Board 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee, can approach the Department of Transportation once the request of signage is made through the proper channels. He resides in our community and has always been responsive and effective in dealing with the needs of the community. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.

As we said at the meeting, we look forward to a new course, one where "I'll look into it" is not the only response the community gets from the leadership of their police precinct. We look forward to working in close cooperation with you, establishing a forum where we can discuss our reciprocal priorities and make sure the police get the support they deserve from the community, because the community is receiving the service it deserves from its police force. We want to meet regularly to define and monitor the steps we will take jointly to improve a long-degenerating situation. Let us define the modes and manner in which our collaboration will take place.

With our sincere welcome,


Sante Scardillo
For L.I.N.A. Little Italy Neighbors Association