The Upper West Side's new precinct captain is focused on property crimes and safety in the neighborhood
Captain Michael Falcon joined the 20th precinct in late October, coming from the World Trade Center Command to become the law enforcement leader for the Upper West Side. He brings with him a penchant for getting to know his beat and the community, as well as a zeal for tackling Upper West Side-specific problems like grand larceny and quality of life issues.
"This precinct is all about the community here and quality of life," said Captain Falcon. "It's a great community to work in and it's a nice area to be a part of."
Falcon has been a part of the NYPD family for over 17 years. He lives in Rockland County with his wife, whom he met at the police academy. After rising through the ranks from a beat cop in Staten Island and the Bronx, to a lieutenant, and then working in midtown Manhattan and as captain of the World Trade Center Command, he has found himself as the captain of the 20th precinct.
Among the issues Falcon wants to tackle: grand larceny, especially personal item thefts, which are a very common problem on the Upper West Side. Because it's such a safe community, said Falcon, people trust that they can leave their stuff around. He wants to talk to restaurant and bar owners to let them know about the issue as well as encourage business people to install security cameras. This is part of an effort to really get to know the community and have a positive relationship with neighborhood residents.
"We are all about trying to find patterns or issues before they get out of control and nip it in the bud," said Falcon. "It's not just a community council meeting once a month, it's checking in with people on a daily basis."
A lot of his advice for people is common sense: don't leave your pocketbook unattended. And if you're a business owner, don't leave an entrance or gate open for deliveries.
Falcon has been kept busy in the last few months of his appointment, despite being in a known-to-be safe neighborhood. He has been keeping an eye on vendors, and making sure that they have the proper licenses and are situated in approved spots. He especially keeps an eye on sidewalk vendors like the book-sellers on Broadway. Something that Falcon has emphasized is maintaining a relationship with the homeless population of the Upper West Side.
"My officers know most of the homeless on a first-name basis, and I've been impressed with their compassion," said Falcon. "It's not just arresting people; if they're breaking the law they'll be arrested, but if not we try to find them correct services, we want to help them and also eliminate homeless complaints."
Of course one of the most high-profile problems on the Upper West Side recently has been pedestrian safety, especially in light of two recent traffic accident fatalities, including a 9-year-old boy. Falcon said that the 20th precinct is all for more enforcement, but they have been working with the Department of Transportation on preventative measures, and not just punishments after the fact. Again, he emphasized, the 20th precinct is all about prevention.