On the seventh anniversary of the shocking murder of two Auxiliary Police Officers in our neighborhood, State Senator Brad Hoylman attended the annual memorial ceremony and announced his introduction of a bill that would make the penalty for killing an on-duty Auxiliary Police Officer the same as it is for a Police Officer or Peace Officer, which is not currently the case.
On March 14, 2007, 6th Precinct Auxiliary Police Officers Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik were on patrol when they encountered a heavily-armed gunman who had just shot and killed Alfredo Romero, a bartender at De Marco’s Pizzeria on Houston and MacDougal Streets. They Followed him to Sullivan Street where they radioed in his location, while crouching behind cars.The gunman, aware of their actions, turned and hunted them down, executing them in cold blood.
That evening, the neighborhood had been packed with tourists and residents; “The fact that more people were not killed in Greenwich Village that night is in no small measure due to their heroic actions,” according to former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
After killing Pekearo and Marshalik, the gunman fled to Bleecker Street where his life ended in a shootout with officers of the 6th Precinct. Had he lived, his trial for the three murders would have caused outrage and heartbreak for the family, friends, fellow Auxiliary officers and the entire neighborhood, as the penalty for murdering Auxiliary officers is not as harsh as it is for killing a police officer in the line of duty.
Auxiliary Police Officers are unpaid and unarmed, and volunteer their time to make their neighborhood a safer place to live. Recognizing the value of their brave contributions, Senator Hoylman has introduced this legislation to help protect the thousands of civic-minded members of the NYPD Auxiliary Police. “Auxiliary Police officers deserve the same protections as police and peace officers, and their assailants should face the same penalties.”
According to the latest crime statistics, burglaries in the 6th Precinct have doubled in the 28-day period from February 10-March 10, and police are cautioning residents to be on the alert and take steps to discourage burglars by locking their doors and making sure they don’t buzz strangers in to their building.
Police suspect that a number of these burglaries have been committed by two men who gain entrance to a building to steal electronics and cash from apparently unlocked apartments, as in many cases, there has been no sign of forced entry.
The 6th Precinct Crime Prevention office has issued an alert to warn people of the problem and to advise them on ways to discourage burglaries.
These are their suggestions:
- Always lock your door, and if possible, have a dead bolt as a further deterrent
- Always lock windows on or near fire escapes, or invest in a fire department approved burglar gate for those windows
- Make sure any window air conditioners can’t be pulled or pushed out
- Never buzz anyone in to your building unless you’re absolutely sure of who they are. Make sure any utility workers or deliverymen show their ID’s.
- Get your landlord, co-op board or management company to install quality front door locks, good entrance and hallway lighting and security cameras
- Consider an alarm system
- Enroll your building in the Trespass Affidavit Program so that trespassers not authorized to be in the building can be arrested.