By Conor Greene
Residents at Tuesday night’s Forest Hills Community and Civic Association meeting were updated on local crime by Officer Gigi Redzematovic of the 112th Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit. She reported “very, very good” news regarding major crimes so far this year, with decreases in every category. So far, the precinct is down 19% compared with the same time last year and 8.5% for the past 28 day period.
With the weather getting nicer, Officer Redzematovic reminded that “the opportunity for criminals to do what they need to do goes up” as residents began leaving windows unlocked. She urged residents to always lock their doors and windows, especially if they are inside the home but preoccupied with tasks such as laundry or showering. She also urged homeowners to check their outdoor lighting and to have a neighbor collect the mail and check on the home when you go on vacation. She reminded residents to immediately call 911 if they notice suspicious activity. “We can’t do it without you guys,” she said.
A resident asked about the status of the investigation into a rape that occurred at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 69th Road at about 4:45 a.m. on May 20. Officer Redzematovic said police “are still looking for the person” and asked residents to be “careful of everything around you” while walking around the city. “I’m not saying it’s not safe in Forest Hills or Rego Park, but you never know.”
According to police, a Hispanic woman in her 20s was followed after leaving the subway station by a man who dragged her to the rear of an apartment building and attacked her. The suspect is a black male between 40 and 50 years old, about 5 feet 7inches tall, with a medium build.
Another resident complained that her driveway is constantly blocked by construction vehicles parking on residential streets new the new school site on Metropolitan Avenue. She said that it took 24 hours for an officer to respond after she called 311. “They used to come within an hour and with all the city needs I was surprised” she said of the delay. She asked if the procedure for having illegally parked cars ticketed and towed has changed, as it used to only take several hours.
Civic President Barbara Stuchinski said that they have eight hours to respond after a complaint is filed. “But don’t believe it,” she said, as it has taken as long as three days for officers to respond to her own complaints. Another resident who has had three cars ticketed and two towed from in front of his home near 69th Road and Sybilla Street said he has “given up on calling 311” and now contacts the 112th Precinct directly, which “works great.” By going that route, he said, an officer generally responds in about 20 minutes.
Finally, the officer informed residents about several upcoming events. This Saturday night, the third annual Relay for Life will be held at the West Side Tennis Club in support of cancer research. The event goes overnight and ends on Sunday morning. In addition, Austin Street will be closed for much of Sunday for a street fair, so drivers are urged to avoid that area.
The precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit is offering Vehicle Identification Number etching at the Home Depot parking lot from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. No appointment is necessary, and having the VIN number etched onto your car window will help deter thieves, said Officer Redzematovic. Anyone is welcome to take advantage of this free service; however, the event will be canceled in the event of rain.