45th Precinct celebrates major crime reduction

(l-r) Detective Stephen Kelly, Giattino, Auxiliary Captain Darryl Gaines, Green, Vacca, Lieutenant James Hanvy and Apollo.
Photo by Bill Weisbrod

Crime in the 45th Precinct is significantly down in 2011, and with 2012 rapidly approaching, Captain Russell Green and Councilman Jimmy Vacca took the opportunity to thank some of the people responsible for the decrease.

Reported incidents are down over 13 percent, and according to Vacca, the 45th is on pace to have the largest decline of any precinct in the city.

Vacca and Green presented certificates of thanks at the precinct’s Community Council meeting on Thursday, December 1 at Villa Maria Academy. They singled out three groups responsible for the great results – the precinct’s detective squad, its corps of auxiliary officers and the Co-op City security force, which works closely with the NYPD in patrolling the massive housing complex.

Members of the 45th Precinct’s detective squad handle over 180 cases each over the course of a year. Yet according to Green, they handle the workload with aplomb. The unit has also been key in investigating murders, with six cases in the 45th this year.

“They have a tremendous case-closing rate,” he said.

Green and Vacca also thanked the precinct’s auxiliary officers for volunteering their time and taking some of the pressure off of the paid, full-time officers.

“These men and women are volunteering their time, some are retired, some work full-time jobs, some are students,” Green said, “They’re really an amazing unit. They’re always there for us. Always available.”

Lieutenant Joseph Giattino of Pelham Bay works as a custodial engineer for the NYC Department of Education, yet still makes himself available as an auxiliary officer.

“You find the time to do something you enjoy,” he said.

Giattino pointed to “camaraderie” and the chance to “work with good cops” as the things that keeping him coming back to police work.

The 45th Precinct is also responsible for patrolling Co-op City, which would be a very manpower draining task if not for the assistance of the housing complex’s security force. The guards are employed by RiverBay Corporation, not the NYPD, but they work closely with the 45th.

“It’s an amazing place, it’s a city within a city,” Green said of Co-op City. “Every time I go there, I still get lost.

“It’s a joy to watch (the security force’s) work. The one thing I’m really impressed with is their investigation (procedure). They have great surveillance and are always posting pictures, keeping people aware in real time,”

Frank Apollo is the chief of the Co-op City security force and has worked in Co-op security for 25 years. He said the working relationship between his unit and the 45th Precinct is as strong as he can remember.

“The cooperation allows us to keep crime rates low in Co-op City” Apollo said. “And the relationship expands to both (Green’s) troops, and my troops as well.”

And lest anyone forget Green’s role in the crime reduction, Vacca said simply “he’s on the money.”

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at wweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

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