“This didn’t have to happen,” Capt. Thomas Pascale, the 106th Precinct’s commander, said as he discussed recent crimes in the area that he said could have been prevented.
Pascale told the attendees of the 106th Precinct Community Council at their meeting last week in Ozone Park that several cars have been stolen because people left their keys in the ignition.
While colder weather seems to encourage residents to leave their cars running while jumping out to purchase a snack, Pascale urged people to do otherwise, as many cars have been stolen that way.
“Besides ruining your day, the car could wind up being used in some pretty violent crimes,” he said.
With the holiday season upon us, the captain urged shoppers not to leave their wrapped holiday gifts in the backseat of their car. He suggested putting the packages in the trunk or under the seat.
Pascale told the audience that smartphones are targets for robbers, especially when they are in the hands of young children. He asked parents to tell their children and grandchildren to be discreet when they are using the phones in public.
The captain said that last week three individuals stole a 10-year-old’s smartphone as he was walking in the Tudor Village area.
Several residents at the council meeting expressed their own concerns to Pascale.
Judith Loli of Ozone Park complained about several trailer trucks that had recently double parked for hours on Rockaway Boulevard and 113th Street in South Ozone Park, slowing the flow of traffic on the street. She also said that trucks loading and unloading on Rockaway Boulevard and 97th Street were causing traffic to divert to Liberty Avenue. Loli asked police to look into the situation at both locations.
Pascale said that trucks are permitted to actively load and unload their merchandise. However, he told Loli that “we’ll take a look at it.”
Ozone Park resident Anna Simulinas told Pascale that her neighbors are putting out orange traffic cones in front of their homes on 88th Street between 107th Avenue and Sutter Avenue to save parking spaces.
Frank Dardani, president of the 106th Precinct Community Council, noted that this situation has been a problem in the past.
Marilyn, a resident of 106th Street in Ozone Park who did not want to give her last name, said she also has the same problem with her neighbors putting out traffic cones and garbage cans to save parking spots.
“How should I handle it?” she asked.
“Don’t,” he responded. “Let us handle it.”
Richmond Hill South Civic Association president Margaret Finnerty asked Pascale about crime numbers at the Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park.
Pascale said that to date there was one car stolen from the property and one grand larceny inside the casino. He told Finnerty that the biggest issue is auto accidents on the casino property. He added that there have been requests for city ambulances for people in need of medical attention in and around the casino.
Several residents expressed their concerns about cars racing late in the afternoon in the vicinity of Rockaway Boulevard and 135th Street near the Van Wyck Expressway in South Ozone Park.
Pascale assured them that he would look into the matter.
Leo, who did not give his last name, said that for the past several months an individual around 125th Street and Sutter Avenue in South Ozone Park was parking cars on the street with “For Sale” signs. Leo said that some of the cars remained in the same location for weeks and added that the plates also appear to be switched from New York to New Jersey tags.
Pascale said if a car is in the same location for weeks he would be able to address that.
He told the resident to call 311 and said an officer would respond to the location and mark the tires of a given vehicle.
The officer would return in eight days, and action would be taken if the car had not been moved.
Ozone Park resident Joe Reuter asked the captain if people are allowed to put covers over their cars if they are parked on the street.
“No, absolutely not,” said Pascale, noting that using covers is a violation of city law.