NYPD Explains LES Crackdown: ‘The Community Is Changing’

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Photo: Lauren Klain Carton

At last nights monthly meeting of the 7th Precinct Community Council, we learned that the NYPD's crackdown on LES bars cited for serving underage drinkers is controversial even in cop-friendly circles. "It doesn't make sense," council president Donald West told us before the meeting got under way at the brick station house on Pitt Street. West said there wasn't much serious crime in the rapidly gentrifying community and contended it was "crazy" to have mounted police come in to control crowds of pub crawlers on weekends. "It's like going back to the TPF days," he said, referring to the volunteer Tactical Patrol Force of horseback officers who patrolled the East Village during the drug-ravaged hippie era.

Precinct Captain David Miller, who was outspoken in his defense of the police crackdown at last month's community council meeting, declined to talk to us, claiming he had been told not to. But when pressed by Grub after the meeting as to whether the LES was a low-crime area, Davis uttered two words: "Not anymore."

Miller's boss, Nancy Barry, the precinct's deputy inspector, told us that the 7th precinct, the second smallest in Manhattan, considered bar and restaurant issues a "separate entity" in crime busting. She added, "We take it very seriously and we will not tolerate underage drinking." Barry attributed stepped-up patrols of local bars to a new cabaret unit formed last year. "The community is changing," she said. "More people are coming into the area."

Meanwhile, the Lo-Down reports that Max Fish still hasnt come to an agreement with the NYPD that will allow it to reopen, but the two sides will continue negotiations tomorrow.