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Queens Chronicle

Residents, police say the kids are not alright

Vandalism, robberies in Woodhaven, Ozone Park being blamed on students

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Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:29 am, Thu Apr 17, 2014.

Salvatore Congemi has lived in Woodhaven for more than 10 years. Rowdy kids from nearby JHS 210 are not a new problem around his corner home at 89th Avenue and 92nd Street, but lately, things have gotten way out of hand.

“We’ve always had fights and stuff,” he said. “But never anything like this.”

Recently, Congemi said, students from the school have been targeting his home, throwing rocks at his front window and taunting him. Last week, the situation reached a dangerous turning point.

“I was sitting in my living room and at just about 10 minutes to four, BANG!” he explained.

A rock shattered the middle pane of his bay window. Congemi said it was thrown by a student at the school. Several more rocks and sticks that have been thrown at his house still litter his front lawn.

Of the group of students who have been harassing him and throwing objects at his window, one was arrested, but the problem hasn’t ceased and the student who was arrested has been released, Congemi said.

He added that the students have even targeted the American flag he hangs outside his front door.

“I really feel this is a bias crime,” he said. “Maybe because of the flag, who knows.”

Issues with students from JHS 210 are not new. Fights often break out in places where they congregate, such as the parking lot of the Pathmark Shopping Center on Atlantic Avenue.

In the mid-1990s, graffiti vandalism on homes in Ozone Park was traced back to students at the school and for weeks, officers from both the 102nd and 106th Precincts were present along the main routes to and from the school.

Congemi said that cops from the 102nd Precinct have been notified, but he still hasn’t seen any officers posted near his home, at least not in marked cars. However, he said police did track down the kids after they broke his window, finding them in the playground of PS 60 a block away.

The precinct declined to comment on the matter, but issues related to JHS 210 have been brought up many times at its community council meetings in the past few years, notably from residents living near Congemi.

A neighbor of Congemi, who declined to have her name published, said the issue is especially bad in Woodhaven because students who take the J train walk through the residential streets to access the subway on Jamaica Avenue.

Vandalism is not the only problem residents are facing from kids going to and from school.

Jeffrey Schiff, the commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, said at last Thursday’s Community Board 10 meeting that there have been a recent string of robberies in the area, many of which are being traced to students from area schools, including John Adams High School.

Many of the robberies had been taking place in broad daylight near A train stations along Liberty Avenue.

Neither the JHS 210 nor John Adams High School administrations would comment on the matter. But a source at John Adams said he was not surprised to hear some of the school’s students are responsible because there have been problems within the school itself recently.

“Students have robbed other students,” he said. “So it isn’t surprising that this would also be happening off school grounds.”

Schiff said his officers are taking the robbery situation seriously and boosting patrols near schools.

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