Residents of St. Albans may be upset with the speed of traffic in their neighborhood, but they appear to be impressed with how fast the 113th Precinct and the city’s Department of Transportation have moved to address it in three areas that were brought to light only last month.
Speaking Monday night during a Zoom meeting hosted by the 113th Precinct Community Council, Sgt. Rochener Gilot of the precinct’s Community Affairs Office said the DOT has agreed to traffic-calming measures in two places and still is studying the third.
“Last month, several issues were raised about speeding and also about drag racing on 116th Avenue between 197th and 201st streets,” Gilot said. “We have been down here issuing summonses. But we wanted help from the DOT.”
He said the city has completed studies on 116th Avenue as well as Farmers Boulevard in the area of Dunkirk Street, where speeding also has been a problem.
Gilot reported that the DOT has agreed to set up speed bumps in both areas, though there is not yet a confirmed date for putting them in place. He said the DOT still is conducting studies in the area of Farmers Boulevard and Murdock Street, where in October a resident had complained about a large group of motorcyclists speeding.
During his monthly presentation on crime statistics, Deputy Inspector Brian Bohannon, the precinct commander, said major crimes are up 2 percent year-to-date as of numbers through Nov. 15.
Murders year-to-date have been cut in half, from 12 to six. Robberies and grand larcenies also are down, the latter by nearly 10 percent. Shooting incidents thus far have increased from 31 to 41, while shooting victims are up from 24 to 34.
Of three recent shootings in the precinct, Bohannon said two were domestic incidents, and that police have identified suspects in all three and expect to make arrests soon.
One involved male cousins having an altercation and another saw a woman’s ex-boyfriend allegedly shooting her new boyfriend in an incident that ended with a car crash into a barrier to the Van Wyck Expressway.
“We’re expecting a quick resolution on these cases,” Bohannon said.
On the subject, the CO said the precinct’s 25 gun arrests represent more than double the number they had this time last year.
“Seven in the last week alone,” he said.
Auto thefts continue to skyrocket, up 52.6 percent from a year ago. And a driving factor behind that continues to be people leaving their cars running unattended while outside their homes or businesses when they intend to be inside just a few minutes.
“I say it all the time, but we had five more of those last week alone,” Bohannon said. “People have got to keep turning their engines off. It’s a mindset, but to us it’s a big deal, because people are using those cars to commit other crimes.”
The inspector also said there has been an increase in thefts of tires and rims from newer-model Honda Accords, along with catalytic converters.
“Keep an eye on your block,” he said. “If you see someone who doesn’t belong who’s looking at Honda Accords, call 911.”
The drop in major crimes in the last 28-day period has allowed the precinct to devote more time to quality-of-life issues.
Regarding a recurring complaint of auto repair and body shops using the streets and even sidewalks as off-site parking, officers said one operation last week allowed them to tow 10 vehicles in a single area, though not all was perfect.
They also said it took about four hours at one point last week to tow a single illegally parked 18-wheeler. That fact brought up a collective groan from several on the Zoom call, though they hadn’t heard the worst part.
“And that was with a tow truck available,” Bohannon said.
In regard to other resident complaints, Bohannon said the department no longer is being tasked with responding to complaints about the homeless or illegal vendors unless there is an active crime taking place.
Taking a question from the audience the CO said that while the precinct has fielded well over 1,000 mental heath calls this year, he believes it unlikely that the 113th Precinct would be one of the locations for a pilot program being touted by Mayor de Blasio that will send social workers and mental health professionals as the lead responders — supported by police — to calls for someone with a mental health crisis.
He believes if the pilot program comes to Southeast Queens it would more likely be sent in the 105th, which includes Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, in Queens Village, or the 103rd, which patrols most of Jamaica proper including the downtown section.