By Conor Greene
Details on several recent incidents, including an apparent stabbing at Atlas Park shopping center, another flashing incident in Ridgewood and arrests for pot smoking in Juniper Valley Park were provided to residents at last week’s COP 104 meeting in Maspeth.
Deputy Inspector Keith Green of the 104th Precinct informed residents that major crime is down about 1.5 percent so far this year. Through the first 17 weeks of 2010there have been 464 major crimes reported, down from 472 at the same time last year. In addition, overall arrests for all crimes are up 14 percent this year, thanks to big increases by the precinct’s patrol unit and detective bureau.
Green reported that there has been another incident in the Ridgewood area of a man exposing himself to young girls on their way to school. There were at least two incidents before Easter and the third occurred last week, all between approximately 7 and 8 a.m. in the vicinity of neighborhood schools. While the victims, who are between 9 and 11 years old, were unable to provide detailed descriptions of the suspect, he is believed to be a Hispanic man in his 20’s who drives a beige car.
A man was previously arrested for flashing incidents within the 104th Precinct, but officers have confirmed that the same individual isn’t responsible for the recent crimes. “We think that he is local and that we will get him soon,” said Green. Police later said the investigation is ongoing, with officers from the precinct and school safety squad dedicated to patrolling each morning along routes where children walk.
Green said the investigation into a stabbing at Glendale’s Atlas Park on a recent weekend was stymied when the victim refused to cooperate with responding officers. In response to concerns from local civic leaders, Green confirmed that an incident did occur at about 3 a.m. on April 17 during an event held at the mall’s Simply Fondue restaurant. “Something happened, but we don’t know all the details,” he said.
Police and ambulances were called after a 26-year-old man suffered an apparent stab wound, but the victim claimed he had fallen and refused to say what happened. “We think there was a fight,” said Green. “He doesn’t want to talk about it, and no witnesses came forward.” While the shopping center has a surveillance system, the attack wasn’t captured on tape. Since the victim didn’t confirm the incident, it was not classified as an assault in the precinct’s crime statistics.
The restaurant didn’t return a phone message seeking comment on the incident, and an e-mail sent to mall management wasn’t responded to. While there haven’t been problems at Simply Fondue in the past, police are now checking to make sure their new hours of operation and events are allowed under the terms of their liquor license. “This raised some red flags, so they’ll be getting some attention over the next few weeks since they changed the way they operate,” said a police source.
Green also reported that, acting on complaints from residents, police made 11 arrests for teenagers smoking marijuana in Juniper Valley Park. In three cases, additional charges were added for criminal possession of a weapon, he added, with the arrests taking place during afternoon and early evening hours.
So far this year, most major crime categories have remained pretty level with the same period last year, according to Green. There has been one homicide – the murder of a transgender woman in her Ridgewood apartment – which was quickly solved, compared with one unsolved homicide at this point last year. There have been three rapes so far, down from five, while robberies are level at 66. Despite a rough two-week period, auto thefts have remained relatively flat, with 99 so far compared to 94last year.
Burglaries, which Green said “are always a problem for us regardless of the time of year,” have dropped eight percent from 135 to 124. The precinct generally ranks among the highest in the city for burglaries reported, so “they are always a concern of ours, and we put a lot into reducing that,” added Green. He noted that a burglary pattern was closed out earlier this year and said there are no current patterns in the area.
While there has been a major spike in felony assaults, with 63 so far compared with 39 at this point last year, Green said the increase is partly due to new guidelines for what incidents are classified as such. He noted there have been 57 arrests among those incidents, a clearance rate he called “very high.” Grand larceny has dropped 14 percent to 109 so far this year.