Days before a new civilian patrol was set to begin in the neighborhood, a 60-year-old man was robbed and severely beaten in broad daylight in the Cityline section of Ozone Park that borders on Brooklyn.
Graphic photos of the victim, Shahab Uddin, bleeding profusely from the face, posted on Facebook sparked residents to call an emergency meeting of the Ozone Park Residents Block Association this week to deal with what they are characterizing as a neighborhood “crime wave.”
“The brutality of this crime really got to me,” Sam Esposito, head of the OPRBA and a former police officer, told the Chronicle.
Uddin was walking home from Liberty Avenue on 76th Street at around 11 a.m. Sunday when he was attacked from behind by a lone assailant who beat him and stole his cell phone and wallet, his family said.
He has been hospitalized since then, unconscious with severe facial wounds and bruises, according to Esposito.
It is the second time in three months someone in the largely Bangladeshi community near the border with Brooklyn has been badly beaten in an unprovoked attack.
In November, a man on his way to work was set upon by a group of young men at the elevated A-train station at Liberty Avenue and 80th Street, a few blocks from the site of Sunday’s assault.
That attack spawned a neighborhood rally that drew several hundred people to protest what was called poor police coverage in a crime-prone section of Ozone Park.
Crime has “been going up over the last 18 months and we knew it,” said Esposito.
The most recent crime stats seem to bear him out.
In January, when crime citywide rose sharply, the 106th Precinct — which covers Ozone Park and Howard Beach — saw robberies jump 58 percent over last year. Felonious assaults were up 57 percent.
A hastily called community meeting with police is set for Thursday night, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Deshi Senior Center at 83-10 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park.
“Crime wave in Ozone Park,” reads the announcement. “We MUST pack the Deshi center and show ‘we are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore.’”
The attack last Sunday came just as a new neighborhood patrol group was being formed.
The Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol — COPCP, for short — was set to begin monitoring the streets this week near the Brooklyn border, said Iqbal Ali, its main organizer.
Ali and the group’s mostly young volunteers had been involved in a Brooklyn-based group called the Muslim Civilian Patrol. But the Ozone Park group broke away about a month ago, said Ali.
“The MCP was a trial experience,” he said. “We learned from it and now we’re moving on.”