By Helen Klein By Helen Klein
The scooters are back. Residents of Dyker Heights, gathered at St. Philip’s Parish Hall, 80th Street and 11th Avenue for the June meeting of the Dyker Heights Civic Association (DHCA) complained that, with the advent of the warm weather, youngsters in the community are once again rattling local streets with gas-powered scooters. One resident of 81st Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, complained about the prevalence of the devices. “Now that summer’s here,” she said, “between the scooters, the cars speeding, the trucks, it’s terrible.” The scooters are also dangerous, pointed out Fran Vella-Marrone, DHCA’s president. “It’s a very serious problem,” she agreed. “They are a danger to themselves, a danger to people walking, and they are a danger to people driving, because they can cause accidents.” Police Officer Anthony Curran, a member of the community affairs department of the 68th Precinct, said that if kids are seen riding the scooters on city streets, they are confiscated. “They are illegal,” he stressed. Because many of the kids involved are under 16, he said, they can’t be given summonses. “We have slowly been trying to combat it as much as possible,” he stressed, advising his listeners to call 311, 911 or the precinct, at 718-439-4211, 4212 or 4213 if they see scooters being used in the street. “Now that you’re letting us know,” he added, “we’ll send out patrols.” The problem, said Curran, has become somewhat less prevalent over the past couple of years because fewer stores within the city are selling the scooters. The key aspect of taking the scooters from the kids riding them, said Curran, is that it gets the parents involved. “Sometimes, when the kids take it, the parents aren’t home and they don’t know what’s going on. If we take it, then the parents have to come down and get it back, and they are told that they are not allowed to ride them in the street,” he remarked. “Nine out of 10 times, that’s the difference.” The best way to tame the scourge of graffiti is to get rid of it quickly. That was the advice shared at the June meeting of the Dyker Heights Civic Association (DHCA), which was held in the parish hall of St. Philip’s Church, 80th Street and 11th Avenue, after one woman complained about graffiti continuing to mar the neighborhood. “It’s still going on, and it’s not cleaned up,” she stressed, complaining specifically about a private home at 12th Avenue and 85th Street that had been defaced. According to Police Officer Anthony Curran, of the 68th Precinct, the precinct has been working on various shopping strips to paint over graffiti. Thirteenth Avenue, he said, has already been done, followed up by Third Avenue. “If you have a specific location,” he urged, “let us know. We’ve been working with Community Board 10, and the boards of trade.” While the precinct can arrange for graffiti to be painted over, the situation is somewhat different when it comes to brick walls. “We can’t do the job ourselves,” he explained, “because you need a power washer to do that kind of work.” Josephine Beckmann, the district manager of Community Board 10, said that the mayor’s office has been collecting release forms from the owners of property that have been defaced with graffiti, in order to remove or paint over it. The goal, she said, is to accumulate as many locations as possible, “So when they come out with the truck, they can do it all in one shot.” One key to combating graffiti is identifying and tracking down the individuals who are responsible. Fran Vella-Marrone, DHCA’s president, noted, “What’s very important is for the police to come and see the tags. They may know who’s doing it, by looking at the tags, and be able to arrest the vandals. The police are investigating cases, and arresting them and, in many cases, they are getting these guys out to do the clean-up as well.” The 68th Precinct began a regular weekly assault on graffiti earlier this year. Teams including members of the Explorers and the auxiliary police have been hitting vandalized locations several times a week. To make sure the entire precinct is included, the focus has shifted from Dyker Heights to Bay Ridge, with the goal of going back and forth between the two sides of the precinct till all the commercial strips have been tackled.