The loss of Police Officer and now Detective First-grade Dennis Guerra was not far from the minds of the 102nd Precinct Community Council Tuesday night. When the council’s president, Latchman Budhai, opened the meeting with a moment of silence — as he regularly does for soldiers serving overseas — he also included Guerra and his seriously injured partner Police Officer Rosa Rodriguez.
Deputy Inspector Hank Sautner, the 102nd Precinct’s commanding officer, was solemn and at times choked up, as he spoke about Guerra and Rodriguez, who were overcome in a Brooklyn fire. Though he didn’t know Guerra, he said he did attend his wake, which took place at a funeral home in his command.
“As sad as the event was, I was very proud to be commanding officer in this community, because the amount of well-wishes that [the family] got from members of the community stopping by and wishing the family well was great to see,” he said.
Focusing on issues within the precinct, Sautner said there has been a string of home burglaries in the City Line area.
“We’re finding they’re using rear windows to enter the homes,” he said, adding that the precinct will go to people’s homes and do a “crime prevention survey,” where the officers will suggest ways to burglar-proof homes and residents should take advantage of that. Sautner and other officers present offered suggestions on how to deter home burglaries, including leaving lights on inside the house when it is not occupied or having neighbors collect your mail while on extended vacation.
Two more elderly women were scammed out of thousands of dollars in the community and Sautner noted that the “Green Dot Scam,” in which callers scare people into giving them thousands of dollars through “Green Dot” cards is still a problem.
“They seem to be preying on our immigrant population,” Sautner said.
He implored people to never give out personal information and call the police if they face a situation where they believe they are getting scammed.
Ed Wendell, former president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, told Sautner that the situation with students from JHS 210 in Ozone Park after dismissal has gotten out of hand. One resident, Salvatore Congemi, had his house vandalized by a student there.
Sautner acknowledged students from the school have been an issue for some time and explained that he had ordered resources to be moved from Richmond Hill High School to JHS 210 and problems at the former location have subsided.
The precinct commander also responded to concerns from residents about noise complaints, a notorious problem in the 102nd Precinct command. Sautner reminded the audience that summer was coming and noise complaints always spike when the weather gets warm and that cops will have to differentiate between one-time issues and chronic noise problems.
Two residents of Woodhaven said a series of garages along 90th Avenue at 80th Street were being used by motorcyclists for parties that have caused a number of quality-of-life issues including noise, drugs and urination.
“It’s pure hell,” said the resident, who did not want to be named.
Sautner said he would look into the issue, but that his officers have been to the location and found nothing wrong, but he wanted more information about the problem so he could “formulate a plan” to address it.