Howard Beach residents packed the 106th Precinct Community Council meeting in Ozone Park on Dec. 11 demanding more police in response to two recent gunpoint carjackings and a spike in robberies.
Police said that on Nov. 26 at 11 p.m. on 91st Street and 159th Avenue, one block west of Cross Bay Boulevard, a gunman carjacked a man and stole his white Porsche Cayenne. Two weeks earlier another driver was carjacked a block away.
“How are you handling the recent carjacking incidents,” a Howard Beach resident, who did not give her name, asked precinct Executive Officer Capt. John Ganley. “I want to make sure that my children and my family are safe.”
Ganley said he had personally increased precinct patrols in the neighborhood. In addition, Patrol Borough Queens South has also provided additional officers. The precinct’s detective squad and members of the PBQS auto larceny squad, robbery squad and the auto crime squad have also given the community their attention. Checkpoints have been set up and officers have been patrolling Cross Bay Boulevard and side streets.
Ganley told the audience that since the second carjacking on Nov. 26 there have not been any reported carjackings in Howard Beach.
He added that on Dec. 10 there was a similar carjacking in Bayside.
“It looks like they are moving away from the 106th,” Ganley said, adding, “I believe that with our increased presence there it made it a little too hot for them to handle.”
A member of the audience asked the captain how long the police presence would remain in the community.
“We deploy based on what we see in crime,” said Ganley. He said that for the recent 28-day period compared to last year reported robberies and larcenies were up in the precinct area. He said that robberies were up in the northern end of the precinct by Liberty Avenue. He assured the Howard Beach residents that although crime in the community is trending downward it is not off the radar and it will continue to be monitored.
A resident of 97th Street in Howard Beach said she was concerned about the number of speeders racing down her block between Charles Park and 157th Avenue.
“They just barrel down,” she said, adding that this was an ongoing problem.
Community Affairs Officer Brenda Bratcher said she would advise the precinct’s traffic officer of the situation. Ganley added that in the future the resident should call 311 right away to report the problem.
Parents of students attending PS 124 in South Ozone Park and PS 232 in Lindenwood expressed their concern about cars speeding and double-parking by the school.
Det. Ken Zorn adding that enforcement is just one part, saying police also need the cooperation of the school administration and the Parent Teacher Association.
Angie, a South Ozone Park resident, asked Ganley for an update on robberies in the community. Ganley said that police had made an arrest a week ago of a 15-year-old on a bicycle whom he said was caught within 20 minutes of three robberies in the area. He said the suspect had three cell phones in his possession which were not his.
Ganley said that precinct officers in addition to PBQS officers were patrolling in the area of Lefferts Boulevard and 111th Avenue. He added that since the patrols robberies have been trending downward in the area.
The next meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council will be at 8 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2014 at the 106th Precinct.