Earlier this month, Greenpoint’s 94th Precinct welcomed its new Commanding Officer, Captain James Ryan. The new boss comes to the neighborhood from Queens, where he commanded the Queens Gang Squad for three years. He replaces Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson, who took command of the 94th in November 2010. Hurson will take charge of Staten Island’s new 121st Precinct in the spring.
Ryan, the affable father of two young children, is easily approachable and plans to make community outreach a highlight of his leadership. From the moment he took command of the Precinct, he has been on a whirlwind tour of Greenpoint, introducing himself to residents and getting to know its major crime issues.
“[It’s a] great community, very involved,” he said. “I’m getting the lay of the land, meeting [everyone] and getting the crime trends in order to see what we can do to reduce crime here.”
In addition to attending monthly 94th Precinct Community Council meetings, Ryan said he is looking forward to attending events throughout the year, including August’s National Night Out, the Feast of the Giglio in July and the concerts on the Williamsburg waterfront. He is also “engaging the nightlife community, making sure that we have a safe environment and prevent unnecessary crimes from happening in their establishments.”
Ryan identified property crimes as his command’s primary issue and communicating crime prevention tips to the community a priority. His initial studies of the Precinct’s crime statistics revealed large numbers of burglaries and vehicle break-ins, many of which, he said, could have been prevented. “Some of the crimes we have taken are the result of perpetrators taking advantage of people being comfortable in their area, thinking they couldn’t be the victim of a crime,” he explained. “[People become victims by] leaving property unattended in a restaurant or bar, leaving things visible, leaving them in automobiles or trucks. Lock your doors; close your windows when you’re leaving. There are bad guys out there who take advantage of that.”
Other quality of life offenses like graffiti will remain a priority, as will addressing the community’s homeless. Ryan hopes to help get them the services they need and will work with the 94th’s three homeless shelters to help bring services. He also wants the surrounding neighborhood to feel safe. “As long as we can [help the homeless], it’s a success, but if we have people violating the law, we have to address that side of it too, with the quality of life offenses.
Earning the Precinct command was a career goal for Ryan and now that he’s achieved it, he has a message for the community: “I’m very approachable. I’m looking forward to working with everyone and looking to keep Greenpoint a safe and vibrant community. That’s my goal and I’m very happy to meet as many people as I can during my time here.”