Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gang Activity Headlines Precinct Community Council Meeting

Gang Activity on the Rise, Capt. Pledges Long-Term Take Down Operation

By Nicole Turso

Police at the 106th Precinct say gang activity is on the rise in South Ozone Park.

Captain Joseph Courtesis, the precinct's commanding officer, would give only limited details on the police investigation at the crowded 106th Precinct Community Council meeting last Wednesday, but said it would be a “long-term take down operation”.

Capt. Courtesis has alerted the Queens borough-wide gang command to the increase in gang-related crimes, to which residents attribute violence and drug-activity in the neighborhood.

Residents of 106th Street also complained about recent shootings and stabbings on their block. One resident who lives of the block lamented that she and other neighbors are afraid they might have to sell their homes if the situation doesn’t improve.

Capt. Courtesis said the precinct is making strides with their investigation and
two arrests have been made in connection with a shooting on 106th Street before the summer. The district’s crime rates, however have been on the rise. CompStat statistics of the 106th Precinct obtained from the New York City Police Department website show murder complaints in the precinct have more than doubled in the last year. Rape and Grand Larceny complaints have also increased since 2007.

Noise Complaints

Capt. Courtesis said the precinct is “aggressively pursuing” noise complaints throughout the district, citing 159 summonses issued from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Roughly 300 alcohol related summonses were issued at these locations.

With 11 block parties on Labor Day alone, the precinct has made a big dent in noise problems over the summer; with complaints down 26 percent over Memorial Day weekend, and 15 percent from Memorial Day through Labor Day since last year.

Commercial Vehicles

“Commercial vehicles parking on residential streets overnight have been a growing problem this year,” said Capt. Courtesis.

A truck enforcement team sent out from the precinct in conjunction with efforts by the Department of Transportation, issued 1,440 summonses to illegally parked commercial vehicles — up 842 from the previous year. Some commercial vehicles, including 40-foot tractor-trailers, were booted and towed.

101st Street Parking Complaints

Residents of 101st Street off of Rockaway Boulevard in South Ozone Park complained of teachers at John Adams High School and parishioners of the local church parking in driveways and narrow spots in front of houses.

Courtesis said he understood the inconvenience, however, explained that both John Adams High School and M.S. 137 let out approximately 4,000 students per day at the same time during the school year; making students the main priority of the officers on duty.

88th Street Vandalism

Residents of 88th Street came to the 106th Precinct Community Council meeting in full-force to raise concerns of vandalism on their block in Ozone Park.

Residents say neighbors put garbage pails in front of their house to save parking spots, as the block is centrally located by the A-train 88th Street/Boyd Avenue Station.

Residents of one particular house vandalize the cars of those who move the garbage pails, said those in attendance at the meeting, citing the shooting of BBs through car windows and mustard being thrown on cars. Residents have tried calling both 911 and 311 with no results.

Courtesis said he would need “probable cause” to take action, but wrote down the address of those allegedly causing the damage to property and said he would look into the legal action that can be taken. “I promise you I will punish them to whatever extent that I can,” Courtesis said.

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