In the 102nd Precinct Community Council’s first meeting after a long hot summer, residents came to air a number of complaints stemming from noise, bad neighbors and for at least a dozen attendees, a sham travel agency in Richmond Hill that milked them out of thousands of dollars.
The community council’s newly elected president, Latchman Budhai, opened the meeting by praising its immediate past president, Maria Thomson, whom Budhai defeated at the June meeting.
“I have to learn a little more from our past president.” Budhai said before inviting Thomson to address the meeting.
Deputy Inspector Armando DeLeon, commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct noted the high number of arrests made over the summer and introduced the precinct’s Cop of the Month, Joe Matthews, who chased down and arrested a man who attempted to burglarize a house in Woodhaven.
The meeting then turned to a sham travel agency that had apparently scammed at least a dozen people who attended the meeting. One man, a Manhattan resident, told DeLeon that police in his borough suggested he come to the 102nd Precinct because the travel agency’s address was on 112th Street in Richmond Hill. DeLeon told the group to go to the precinct after a meeting to file a complaint and a representative from Councilman Ruben WIlls’ (D-South Jamaica) office said he and his colleague Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) were aware of the sham business and were working on it. DeLeon later confirmed that the owner of the business had been arrested.
Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association backed DeLeon’s assertion that the summer had been quieter than usual.
“I can confirm concerning noise complaints that we had a good summer this year,” he said.
Wendell did bring to the precinct’s attention an apartment building in Woodhaven where violence and drugs have been a problem. Though he would not give the address, to protect the safety of its residents, he said he was “scared for their safety.”
A group of neighbors from Ozone Park appeared to complain about a neighbor’s loud parties and threatening attitudes toward them, while a couple from Richmond Hill said they had a similar problem with a neighbor, whom they allege killed their cat.
The neighborhoods served by the 102nd Precinct are nestled between two high-crime areas of the city — East New York, Brooklyn and Jamaica. — and that makes the neighborhoods of Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens areas for police to watch closely, said DeLeon.
“Sometimes their problems trickle into the 102,” he said. He noted that the precinct needs more cops.
At the end of the meeting, Budhai announced the community council meetings will have a new location.
They will be held in the basement of the Richmond Hill Library, 180-14 Hillside Ave., every third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m., a change from previous years when it was held at the Moose Lodge on Jamaica Avenue. Queens Library Director of Government and Community Affairs Jennifer Manley, who was at the meeting, welcomed the council to the site.
“We’re happy to have you here,” Manley said. “This is your library.”
The next meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in the library basement. Attendees can use the entrance at the end of the driveway on Babbage Street.