On Monday, in a complete reversal from prior practice, RIOC voluntarily reported a crime that occurred early Sunday morning. The beleaguered state agency offered no explanation for the uncharacteristic outburst of transparency. But subsequent events suggest it won’t become commonplace as many hope.
by David Stone
A Crime on Main Street Reported
In the early morning hours on Sunday, November 5th, an unnamed public safety officer – or officers – responded to a noise complaint at 546 Main Street. Investigating, the officer or officers found that the source was an alleged “home invasion” on the floor above.
Although the victim was uninjured, he or she said that the perpetrator “did display a firearm.”
Swinging into action, PSD called in the New York City Police Department while securing video footage captured on a surveillance camera of the alleged perpetrator leaving the building. Quick action by public safety officers enabled an arrest sometime later.
“The alleged perpetrator is a juvenile and now faces several criminal charges,” an anonymous RIOC advisory noted. NYPD did not recover any firearm.
RIOC gave an address for the juvenile, but we are withholding that because we believe it’s inappropriate with a juvenile who must be presumed innocent.
A Complete Reversal?
Reporting a crime at the very center of Roosevelt Island – or anywhere else – marks a complete reversal from RIOC’s standard practice. Although fogged over with jargon, the information matters for Roosevelt Islanders who’ve repeatedly appealed for transparency.
But was it really a breakthrough?
Totally out of context, the crime report stands out like a stranger stranded on Main Street, isolated and alone, sadly nameless. It’s impossible to tell if this signals a change or just one ray of sunlight piercing the permanent overcast and fading fast.
The prospects for future transparency are not strong, given subsequent events and the absence of any authorship in the advisory released on Monday. No “Team RIOC” or “Team None of Your Business” or “Team Don’t Ask.”
And Then, There Was the Rest of Sunday
On a beautiful autumn afternoon, leaves scattered on the ground among the cherry trees west of Cornell Tech, people out walking saw two PSD vehicles race north a high speeds with lights flashing and sirens screaming.
But there was no report.
While it’s been observed that PSD officers frequently drive around with lights flashing, an apparent effort at appearing busy, the sirens were an unusual twist.
What was going on?
We don’t know.
So, how do you make a show like that and report nothing?
In spite of demanding around $400,000 a year in public money for so-called communications professionals, no one at RIOC answers any media requests. Any release of information is arbitrary and very likely self-serving.
And though it’s a weak start, building trust requires much more, especially more sunlight exposing what’s going on inside the RIOC bunker.