Civic leaders and residents of Ozone Park are growing concerned as the increasing presence of crime reared its head once again on Feb. 20, this time at the A-train station on Liberty Avenue.
It was just before 5:30 p.m. when a perpetrator brandishing a handgun approached his victim, an unidentified 22-year-old male as he went to pay for a MetroCard at the A train’s 80th Street-Hudson Street station at the corner of 80th Street and Liberty Avenue.
The suspect, who has been described as a black male about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 140 lbs., got away with $30 and was last seen fleeing south on 77th Street toward Glenmore Avenue. The victim escaped the situation unharmed, police said.
“The community is living in fear,” said Sam Espostio, president of the Ozone Park Residents Block Association. According to Esposito the area is being well served by the 102nd Precinct, however, there are concerns about the 106th Precinct and what some area residents feel is a lack of involvement despite the fact that the incident occurred within the latter’s territory.
In an effort to stop the random acts of crime and violence, the 102nd Precicnt has established a patrol car canvassing of 101st and Liberty avenues from 88th Street up to the Brooklyn border, Esposito said. There will also be an increase in the deployment of auxiliary officers in that area as well.
“We have not heard from the 106 Precinct as of yet, and we will once again reach out to the Mayor’s Office to instill in the mayor that we need everyone’s full cooperation,” Esposito said. “We will not accept second rate service or bow down to another ZIP code because we live in Ozone Park.”
Esposito urged his fellow community members via OPRBA’s Facebook page to report every crime they see no matter “how trivial it may be.”
In recent weeks other crimes have affected the area. On Feb. 5 a group of youngsters approached a 28-year-old man from behind as he was walking to his car near 125th Street and Liberty Avenue around 5:30 p.m. The suspects proceeded to punch and kick him about the face and body before stealing his cell phone and AirPods. And on February 11, Ozone Park resident Shahab Uddin was brutally beaten while walking home along Liberty Avenue and 76th Street.
Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) has also been working hard to help stop the crime wave that is plaguing the Ozone Park, the Cityline area in particular.
“My office has reached out to Mayor de Blasio because something needs to be done,” Miller said. The assemblyman added that he had also contacted Fausto Pichardo, NYPD chief of patrol, for assistance.
The 106th Precinct has since added more patrols along with the 102nd Precinct, the NYPD said. The department even installed bright spotlights at the Liberty Avenue subway stops where the assaults and robberies have been occurring.
Miller has even contacted the New York State Police to help provide additional coverage of the area.
Additionally, two weeks ago the Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol was launched to help patrol the area by the Brooklyn border.