Following a shooting incident on Saturday morning that sent five people to Elmhurst Hospital, several elected officials and community leaders in Jackson Heights are calling for stepped up police presence along Roosevelt Avenue.
Police said at around 11:40 a.m. on Saturday, they responded to a call that a female had been shot near Roosevelt Avenue and 80th Street. When they arrived on the scene, they found three people had suffered gunshot wounds and two others had been grazed by bullets. A hospital spokesman said all of the victims were released from the hospital the following day. No one has been arrested, and the investigation is ongoing.
Councilman Hiram Monserrate and Assemblyman Jose Peralta called a press conference on Sunday to address safety concerns along Roosevelt Avenue.
Monserrate said the area is “plagued by crime,” noting a recent increase in gang activity. He added that the area still needs permanent police presence.
In addition to more police officers, Monserrate believes the area should have surveillance security cameras, as well as more resources to help prevent young people from becoming involved in gang activity.
Peralta added that the message needs to go out to all levels of government. He urged the mayor to allocate more funding for police, and encouraged action on anti-gang legislation at the state level. Peralta and Monserrate also called for re-establishment of the Roosevelt Avenue Task Force.
Anthony Miranda, with the National Latino Officers Association, said lack of a permanent police presence is allowing criminals to establish themselves in the area.
Danny Dromm, Democratic district leader for the 39th Assembly District, advocated for a “multi-pronged approach” to the situation, echoing the call for more educational resources for parents and children.
Fifteen-year resident Tammy Rose, who has a six-year-old daughter, said she has felt unsafe walking along Roosevelt Avenue. She was mugged when she first moved to the neighborhood, and agrees that greater educational outreach is necessary to prevent violence. “It’s a little disconcerting to me because as more and more families move in (to the neighborhood), it seems police presence is declining,” adding that policing “needs to be consistent.”
Resident Janet O’Hare noted that Roosevelt Avenue, which falls within the coverage areas of two separate precincts (the 110th and the 115th), is often overlooked.
An emergency public safety town hall meeting was scheduled for Thursday, May 29, at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights. For more information, call (718) 205-3881.