Hard year for the 1st Precinct

Last year was a strenuous one for the NYPD’s First Precinct, the precint’s commanding officer Edward Winsky told Downtown residents at the January first precinct council meeting last Thursday.

Arrests processed through the first precinct in 2011 reached 4,351, up by approximately 18 percent from the year before, according to information provided by the Police Department. The majority of the crime, Winsky said, is theft of cell phones, iPods and other personal belongings.

Several in attendance asked about the drumming and vending policies in and around Zuccotti Park, and stressed that the rules must be established and enforced upfront.

Winsky agreed and said that he, too, is worried about an attempt on the part of the Occupy Wall Street protesters to infiltrate the park once again.

“We’ve been 100 percent supportive in enforcing the rules of Brookfield Properties,” said Winsky. “Any time they have trouble with someone following the rules, that’s what we’re there for.”

Tables, Winsky noted, are not permitted into the park. The police had to enforce this rule when, last week, protestors tried to set up an information booth inside the park. “One person was arrested for obstructing governmental administration,” said Winsky. A total of more than 1,800 people associated with O.W.S. have been arrested since the movement began, he noted.

“Drumming itself is not illegal, but as far as I know, there are no drums permitted in the park,” he added. “I’ve spent a lot of time down there and it has greatly, greatly decreased.”

At the meeting, Winsky also gave an update on the Canal Street initiative, which he said has led to 2,796 arrests, more than 8,000 summonses, and the cops’ seizure of nearly 35,000 counterfeit handbags and $60,000 in cash made from black market sales.

While there is less counterfeit activity along Canal Street than during the holiday season, Winsky said it’s an ongoing battle, particularly since the perpetrators often don’t incur major penalties.

“We haven’t won the war,” said Winsky. “I was out there Friday walking around, and there were some conditions I wasn’t happy with.”