Residents voiced their concerns about a myriad of issues at a packed 106th Precinct Community Council meeting in Ozone Park on March 13.
Before addressing those, however, Deputy Inspector Thomas Pascale, the precinct’s commanding officer, brought up one of his: people leaving themselves open to crimes of opportunity. As he has before, Pascale reminded residents not to leave valuables in full view inside their cars when they go shopping. He said a man who left some on the front seat of his car in a Cross Bay Boulevard parking lot earlier this month found the windows smashed when he returned and the valuables stolen.
Pascale also urged residents, especially senior citizens, to be alert to the “flat tire” scam, in which one suspect approaches the motorist claiming the target has a flat tire. When the victim goes to inspect it, the other suspects steal items from inside the vehicle. They then flee before the victim realizes he or she has been robbed.
Pascale said that in a variation of this scam, a suspect will “accidentally” put mustard or ketchup on the victim’s jacket, offer to clean it up and then clean up a lot more than the jacket stain.
He also urged residents to be alert for scammers who come to the door claiming to be city Department of Environmental Protection employees, saying there is a problem with the water or the meter, and while one suspect distracts the resident, the other goes through the home stealing valuables.
“It you didn’t call DEP, don’t let them in. Call 911 and we’ll sort it out,” Pascale said.
“Sorting out” illegality in the area has meant making a lot of arrests lately, as Community Council President Frank Dardani told the crowd.
Arrests in the precinct are up 71 percent so far this year compared to last, Dardani said, with officers making 53 arrests for major crimes just in the last 25 days.
Dardani also said he and Community Council Vice President Donna Gilmartin had recently met with Assistant Chief James Secreto, commanding officer of patrol for Queens South, to discuss community needs and the desire for more officers in the area.
One community concern on the quality-of-life front is a problematic bar in the vicinity of 107th Street and Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park.
“Every night the music blasts,” a resident bemoaned at the community council meeting.
Community Affairs officer Ken Zorn reported that eight summonses were issued to the bar for noise violations on Jan. 24. He added that the bar was cited as a disorderly premises on Feb. 26.
Also during the meeting, a resident of Centreville said her home was recently burglarized and two of her cars were stolen within the past five years.
“Is there anyone patrolling the area,” the woman asked, adding, “I never see any cops in the area.”
Addressing her concerns, Pascale said there are police resources in her area that she does not see, including plainclothes officers in unmarked cars, undercover narcotics officers and detectives. He told her that a lot of effort goes into burglary investigations, with reports analyzed, patterns developed and resources allocated to affected areas.
Regarding her specific burglary he said that not only did the patrol officers respond and perform a thorough investigation, including a detailed description of the property stolen, but the evidence collection team also responded to look for fingerprints and DNA evidence. Precinct detectives have also been in contact with her, he noted.
He added that police also canvass businesses licensed to buy secondhand jewelry and pawn shops looking for stolen loot.
The next meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council will be held at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10 at 103-51 101 St.