Wednesday, August 17, 2011
NYPD’s 34 Precinct Commander Yanked Due To Crime Spike
A Manhattan precinct commander was booted from his post yesterday amid an alarming spike in every major crime category, The Post has learned.
Deputy Inspector José Navarro, who was recently promoted from captain, was yanked from the 34th Precinct in Inwood/Washington Heights following a heated meeting with NYPD brass over the crime surge, police sources said.
The department was so desperate to give him the heave-ho that he was replaced by a Bronx commander who was disciplined in 2006 for viewing soft-core porn on his computer. Deputy Inspector Barry Buzzetti was stripped of his 48th Precinct post after a female officer complained.
The crisis in Navarro's precinct -- plagued by a rise in everything from murders to rapes to robberies -- came to a head two weeks ago when he was called down to One Police Plaza to meet with Commissioner Ray Kelly's top deputies.
"He had no answers," one source said.
That's when the brass decided he had to go.
After years of steady decrease, citywide crime is down just 0.1 percent as of Aug 14 compared to last year in the same time period, according to NYPD stats.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne wouldn't answer questions about Navarro's transfer, but said citywide crime is down 35 percent from 2001.
But Inwood residents are more concerned with their own neighborhood.
"Before it was much safer. Now there are too many crimes," said Rosa Ramirez, 18, whose cousin Humberto Alvarado, 39, was shot dead at El Rey De La Paella Restaurant on West 181st Street on July 25.
"The detectives have been investigating it, but so far they haven't been able to answer any of our questions," Ramirez said. "You don't see many police on the street."
Also, 34th Precinct cops have yet to solve an Aug. 7 home invasion by five armed thugs. They beat and robbed the female tenant then fled.
"In other areas you see police all over, but here the criminals are going buck wild," said a nearby building manager, Jay Osborne.
Navarro made headlines in April after he attempted to tackle two teens recklessly riding a Yamaha motorcycle on the sidewalk.
He grabbed the handlebars and "was dragged a distance of 6 to 8 feet before the motorcycle crashed into a stairway railing outside the school," according to the NYPD.