As the September opening day for the Resorts World New York casino in South Ozone Park edges closer, nervous neighborhood residents concerned about their safety were assured by Patrol Borough Queens South Assistant Chief James Secreto that the police manpower necessary to protect them will be provided.
Secreto told the members of the 106th Precinct Community Council at their meeting last week that if top police officials don’t give him the additional officers he has requested, he will provide them from the borough’s resources.
“One way or another we are going to have cops there,” said Secreto.
Residents fear that the influx of an estimated 8.4 million people a year into the neighborhood will add traffic and increase the risk of crimes and quality of life issues. Some expressed concern that prostitutes may be drawn into the area.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has also voiced the concerns of his constituents and recently asked for additional police officers for the 106th Precinct in advance of the casino’s opening.
“While the new racino is scheduled to open later this summer, many of my constituents are still concerned about the level of police protection the community will receive from the NYPD,” Ulrich wrote in a recent letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “Despite the fact that vehicular and foot traffic will increase, it still remains unclear if and when the local precinct will receive additional police personnel. Undoubtedly, more police officers will be needed to patrol the residential neighborhoods surrounding the facility.”
David Quintana of Ozone Park told Secreto that he saw a large contingent of police officers standing around the New York Stock Exchange building in Manhattan. He said that in light of the expected 30,000 visitors a day coming into the neighborhood surrounding the casino, “we could use some of those officers out here.”
On the noise abatement front, the precinct’s ongoing effort to quiet troublemakers resulted in the issuance of 26 noise summonses during the period from May 30 to June 5, according to Community Affairs officer Ken Zorn.
He added that 32 noise summonses were issued the week before.
A Lindenwood resident complained that cars are still speeding through area stop signs without stopping. Capt. Thomas Pascale told him officers would be made aware of this problem.
With the Fourth of July approaching, 106th Precinct police officers will be taking a zero-tolerance stance on fireworks use.
“For children’s safety and the safety of all residents, we are going to make sure that we prevent the discharge of fireworks,” said a police department official.
Fireworks burn at an extremely high temperature and can quickly burn through clothing and skin, causing serious injuries. Items such as sparklers are mistakenly thought to be safe, when even they can be very dangerous, the officers said, adding that fireworks should only be handled by trained professionals.
Pascale said that 40 additional police officers will be assigned to the precinct’s fireworks detail on July 4.
He also said that a police command post will be set up in front of the Starbucks store on Crossbay Boulevard.