There was widespread relief among those attending the 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting last week when Capt. Martin Briffa, the precinct’s executive officer, announced that 15 new officers had been assigned to the precinct.
“We are so thankful, and I know that it’s going to help our precinct,” said Maria Thomson, president of the council.
The officers were previously assigned to NYPD impact units and have been with the department an average of three to four years.
Impact units are comprised of new officers who are assigned to precincts in high crime neighborhoods in the city upon their graduation from the academy.
Residents at the meeting voiced their complaints about such issues as dog fights, prostitution, graffiti and car break-ins.
Before addressing the complaints, Briffa urged the attendees to call the police if they see something suspicious.
He said that a resident recently called police to report seeing two individuals who were putting tires and rims into a Honda Civic in Forest Park.
Briffa said that precinct officers responded to the location and arrested the alleged tire and rim thieves.
“If you see something, call us — we can’t do it alone,” the captain said. “We need everybody’s help.”
A South Richmond Hill resident, who declined to give her name or address for fear of retaliation, complained about a motor vehicle repair business which recently opened in her neighborhood and operates 24 hours a day, and which she alleged were conducting dog fights, promoting prostitution and doing other unspecified illegal activities.
She said she has called the police and the Department of Motor Vehicles about the business.
The resident alleged that the business owners found out that she had made complaints against them and threatened her and her family.
“I really want your help; I really do,” she said.
Briffa asked her to meet with him after the meeting to discuss her complaints in further detail.
Murray Berger, of the Kew Gardens Civic Association, complained about graffiti on the Long Island Rail Road stations on Onslow Place between Austin and Grenfell streets.
Berger was also concerned about the recent rash of grand larcenies and assaults in the precinct.
Briffa acknowledged that car break-ins are a constant problem in the precinct.
“People leave their GPSs in their cars,” said Briffa.
The captain added that people also leave their wallets, pocketbooks and credit cards in their cars when they go to clubs and restaurants.
Briffa said a large percentage of the felony assaults in the precinct are the result of domestic abuse which police consider a serious matter and a priority response by officers who receive the 911 call.
Berger also relayed his concerns about illegal taxi drivers trying to solicit customers at the Union Turnpike/Kew Gardens/Queens Boulevard subway station.
He said the drivers were jamming the stairs of the station, looking for fares and making it difficult for subway riders to get up or down the steps.
Berger asked Briffa if he could provide a continuing police presence at the station.
Community Affairs Officer John Martin said police had a meeting with the other concerned city agencies, including the Transit Police and the Taxi and Limousine Commission about the issue.
“We’re working on this problem,” Martin said.
Ozone Park resident Karl Baker complained about late-night basketball being played until 2 a.m. in Maurice A. Fitzgerald playground at 106th Street and Atlantic Avenue, after the park’s closing time, disturbing his peace and quiet.
Baker also complained about loud, noisy parties for the past three consecutive weekends in his next door neighbor’s house near 93rd Avenue and 106th Street in Ozone Park.
He said the police shut the party down the first weekend they had it, but the following weekend the neighbor ramped it up again.
Simcha Waisman, president of the Richmond Hill Block Association, complained about commercial vehicles parked on Park Lane South and 112th Street in Richmond Hill. He said that the vehicles were also parked on the sidewalk near Jamaica Avenue and 89th Avenue.
Briffa responded that he would have the precinct summons officer check the locations.
Thomson said that now that summer is almost here, noise complaints will rise.
“Now that it’s starting, we have to nip it in the bud,” said Thomson.
She asked the captain what the precinct’s plans were to combat noise.
Briffa said the precinct has a dedicated noise complaint response car to address the complaints.
He encouraged the attendees to call 311 with the location of the problem so police could address the issue.
“Don’t wait until two in the morning to call, when the party has been running for eight hours; call us as soon as you can.” Briffa urged residents.
The captain said that letters are also written to the prior years’ chronic noise locations.
The next meeting of the 102nd Precinct Community Council will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jun. 19 at the Moose Lodge, 87-25 118th St. in Richmond Hill.