Wednesday, November 19, 2014


In the aftermath of several recent armed robberies of restaurants and other small businesses on or within a few blocks of Church Avenue, area police precincts are advising store owners to improve their security systems. Criminals have walked into the stores and stolen cash, laptops, and an iPad from customers and/or cash belonging to the businesses.

Police have honed in on the area with additional foot patrols (in the shopping areas of Church Avenue, Cortelyou Road, and Newkirk Plaza, according to DNAinfo), undercover police, and impact forces (for high-crime areas) in order to catch the criminals. Recent crimes include

  • a home invasion in October that resulted in Leonard Phillips' murder in his home at 379 Rugby Road, between Cortelyou and Dorchester roads,
  • armed robberies in October and November in
    • Mimi's Hummus, 1209 Cortelyou Road, between Westminster and Argyle roads,
    • Ox Cart Tavern, 583 Argyle Road, near Newkirk Avenue,
    • Stratford Deli, 1105 Church Avenue, between E. 10th Street and Stratford Road,
    • Lark Cafe, 1007 Church Avenue, also between E. 10th Street and Stratford Road,
  • the burglary and criminal trespassing on Friday at Am Thai Bistro, 1003 Church Avenue, also between E. 10th Street and Stratford Road, and
  • the January armed robbery and assault of a livery cab driver on E. 8th Street near Cortelyou Road.

The video cameras in one of the stores are helping to establish descriptions of the criminals. Police recommend that all homes, schools, houses of worship, businesses, and other places where people gather either install cameras or update their existing cameras to models that provide higher definition resolution. So many images that appear online, in print, and on fliers are of such poor quality that identifying someone becomes next to impossible.

In addition, the police recommend that people register their possessions--cell phones, laptops, iPods, and all other electronics. A week ago, the 70th Precinct set up a table outside of the Flatbush Reformed Church and did this, engraving precinct serial numbers on the items. Owners are advised to store the serial numbers in a separate location, away from the engraved items.

Neighborhood associations, BIDs, civic organizations, community board, house of worship, etc. can contact their local precincts to sponsor an event where a police officer will engrave and record the serial numbers of residents' electronics to make them less appealing to steal and, in theory, easier to track down.