Residents of the 102nd Precinct area can feel safer in their homes and on the street because the precinct is now top in the city for crime reduction, police said at last week’s 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting.
Capt. Martin Briffa, the precinct’s executive officer, told the gathering at the Moose Lodge in Richmond Hill that crime in the 102nd Precinct dropped more within the past 28 days than anywhere else in the five boroughs, according to the latest statistics. The precinct includes Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Forest Park.
The precinct’s Compstat report for the 28-day period ending March 18, compared to the same monthly period last year, showed rapes dropped by 33 percent, robberies dipped by 13 percent, felonious assaults decreased 31 percent, burglaries declined 30 percent, grand larcenies fell 45 percent, auto thefts decreased 52 percent — and there were no murders. Petit larcenies also showed a drop of 26 percent and misdemeanor sex crimes fell 67 percent.
Maria Thomson, president of the council, said that in a city of 75 precincts, she considers the 102nd the safest to live in and credited the hardworking police officers there with doing more with fewer resources.
In other council news, Mohamed Hack, community liaison for Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica), reported on the legislator’s bill to make it illegal for bodegas to sell synthetic marijuana.
He said that representatives of the councilman recently visited 28 stores in the community and found all were selling what is known as “fake pot.”
Hack said the product is packaged to look like spice and sold under brand names such as Sponge Bob, Atomic Bomb, Mr. Nice Guy, Super Nova and Mojo.
He listed numerous side effects from smoking it, such as anxiety and panic attacks, heart palpitations, racing heartbeat, respiratory complications, aggression, mood swings, altered perception and paranoia.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has legislation pending to make the drug illegal nationwide. State lawmakers are seeking the same in New York.
As summer approaches, residents said they are not looking forward to excessive noise disrupting their quality of life. Noise tends to escalate in the warmer months because of outdoor parties.
According to city statistics for the period between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011, there were 2,050 residential noise complaints in the Community Board 9 area, which covers Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, and Kew Gardens. From June 1, 2011 to date there were 1,639.
Jerry Sullivan, representing City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), reported that the councilman’s noise bill, which will strengthen the city’s noise law by providing fines of up to $5,000 and confiscation of sound equipment for willful violations of the law, is currently pending in the City Council.
Thomson asked Briffa what the precinct’s program is to address noise complaints.
Briffa said the precinct will have a dedicated noise car to respond to these complaints.
In addition, Briffa said that letters would be sent to the homeowners police noted were chronic noise violators in past years informing them of the precinct’s zero tolerance noise policy.
Community Affairs Officer Jose Severino asked residents to call his unit at (718) 805-3215 if they see any house party preparations being made such as tents, lights and portable toilets so officers can go speak with the homeowner prior to the soiree.
Ozone Park resident Karl Baker complained about a disc jockey’s loud music in front of a storefront on Atlantic Avenue near 107th Street in Richmond Hill. He said that the condition has been going on since January.
Briffa said the alleged violator has previously been issued a warning and now would be given a summons if responding officers found the noise condition when they went to the location.
Inderbir Singh, of Richmond Hill, asked what could be done about minors smoking cigarettes in front of area schools.
Community Affairs Officer Joseph Martins told Singh that officers recently conducted an underage cigarette sting operation in the vicinity of 114th Street and Atlantic Avenue in South Richmond Hill.
He said the targeted deli sold cigarettes to a minor and was issued six criminal court summonses, which can result in the imposition of hefty fines if the defendant is found guilty of the offense.
In an effort to address residents’ concerns about safety in and around the local schools, Thomson had School Safety Unit Executive Officer Debra Eckuland and Supervisor Suzette Catoggio join the meeting to listen to the complaints.
Thomson said neighborhood residents had brought to her attention a group of rowdy teenagers whom she believes are students from JHS 210 who were acting disorderly and allegedly vandalizing property around 92nd Street in Woodhaven as they walked from Atlantic Avenue to Jamaica Avenue.
“This is constant,” Thomson told the officers.
Martins told Thomson that a precinct officer on a scooter is assigned to the area every school day beginning at 2:30 p.m. The officer follows the group from JHS 210 to the Burger King at 92nd Street and Atlantic Avenue.
Eckuland told Thomson that it was the first time she had heard about the problem, but she would coordinate efforts with her mobile task force and the 102nd Precinct to combat the issue.
“You have our attention and we will be looking into it,” said Eckuland.
The next meeting of the 102nd Precinct Community Council will be held on Tuesday, April 17 at 8 p.m. at the Moose Lodge, 87-25 118 St. in Richmond Hill.