After a summer recess, the Ninth Precinct’s community council resumed its monthly meetings last night, drawing a large turnout of locals to the East Fifth Street station house. Deputy Inspector Peter J. Venice announced that crime in his precinct was down overall by 4 percent with declines in all categories except felony assault during the last 28 days. But residents still griped about everything from loud music at rooftop ragers to rats scurrying out of “filthy” apartment buildings.
Michael Smith, an East Village resident since 1968, complained that “able bodied people who look like Hells Angels” were camping out on his East 11th Street block “and leaving mattresses” and other items behind. “It’s a mess,” he said. “We need somebody to drive by and get them out of there.”
Lt. Patrick Ferguson, a veteran of the Ninth Precinct for more than 20 years, said there were more homeless people on the streets these days and those described by Smith were squatters. “I’ve offered them help and we try to do our best,” he said. “But they choose to live that way.”
Another resident described bicyclists in the East Village as “totally out of control. At First and Second Avenues, they don’t stop at the light 97 percent of the time. It’s just a matter of time before someone gets killed as someone was in Chelsea a few years ago.” He also complained about delivery people on electric wheels “who turn their bikes into motorcycles. Something has to be done. I spoke to a woman who was almost hit.”
Venice said the precinct was “aware of the dangers” of varied bike riders in the neighborhood. “We issue summons and hold meetings. But we don’t have enough cops. It’s a work in progress.”