Captain Hank Sautner, the commanding officer of the 102 Precinct, opened Tuesday’s meeting of the community council by discussing an incident that occurred outside of his jurisdiction, the shooting death of D’aja Robinson in South Jamaica last weekend.
“These tragedies are unfortunate, but these are the tragedies we work to prevent,” Sautner said, reminding the audience in the basement of the Richmond Hill library to be vigilant and careful.
Closer to home, Sautner also talked about the 102nd Precinct’s recent cracking down on trucks parking overnight along major streets in the community, a problem constantly brought to his attention at past community council meetings. He said his cops have been focused on the issue.
“We have issued 47 summonses for overnight parking,” Sautner said, noting that most were along Atlantic Avenue, while the others were mostly along Woodhaven Boulevard. The issue has been especially bad along stretches of roadway where there are few cars parked overnight, such as along Atlantic Avenue near 90th Street and again in Richmond Hill between Lefferts Boulevard and the Van Wyck Expressway and along Woodhaven Boulevard in Forest Park.
He added that the one major crime that has seen an uptick this year is car theft, and some of that is truck theft.
“I’m very concerned about trucks that have been stolen,” Sautner said. “It has been a problem that I’m taking very seriously. We don’t know why thieves would want trucks or what they will do with them.”
He was thanked by one attendee for the crackdown against trucks illegally parking overnight.
“It’s made a big difference,” the man said.
The captain also took concerns from nearly a dozen residents. One resident of 101st Road in Ozone Park spoke with several of her neighbors about a vacant house on the block that has become a hangout for people whom she said were doing drugs and squatting in the home.
“The house is in foreclosure,” said one of her neighbors. “It’s been a problem for almost two years.”
A woman from Woodhaven said men on motorcycles were operating a social club in a garage on 75th Street and had even harassed her a few times. Sautner said he would make sure both issues are prioritized.
The captain also quickly mentioned the security situation in Forest Park, nearly two months after a woman was attacked while jogging on one of the park’s bridle paths. Sautner said that while the mobile command post that had been placed at Park Lane South and Myrtle Avenue is now gone, mounted police and patrols in cars continue.
“We are still in there,” he said. “Especially as the summer season comes around, we’re keeping up our patrols in the park.”
The meeting also included a presentation from FDNY firefighters Tim O’Connell and Richard Duignan, who gave some tips for fire safety, including how to snuff out a grease fire in a pan, how to use a fire extinguisher and the dangers of extension cords and multi-outlets.
“These are the most common cause of fires,” Duignan said, holding up examples of common extension cords and a multi-outlet. “But these are meant to be used temporarily. Do not plug in air conditioner, refrigerators, any appliance that could heat up the cord.”
Duignan also suggested calling the Fire Department instead of, or along with, using a fire extinguisher.
“Even if you have one of these, call us,” he said. “Let us put out the fire. That’s what we’re paid to do.”