Now that he’s had time to settle in to his new command, The Queens Courier sat down with Police Captain Ronald B. Leyson, the new Commanding Officer of the 111th Precinct in Bayside.
Q: What’s it like being commanding officer at the 111th Precinct?
A: Actually, I was Executive Officer here from June 2006 until February 2007 under [Deputy Inspector] Scott Hanover, so I’m coming back to familiar surroundings – maybe that’s why they brought me back.
Q. What do you mean?
A: One of the reasons I was here before was to help bring down a spike in burglaries – a crime which has always been a problem in the 111 – where there are of households with lots of personal property that are easily identifiable to the bad guys and easy access to highways. Hanover did a good job and now it’s about maintenance – building on his successes. He was here for a very long time – over four years – and after a while it’s difficult to come up with fresh ideas. I left here to Command Queens North Task Force and now I’m back. I consider myself a crime fighter.
Q: There’s a growing concern about pedestrian safety, both around schools and at certain dangerous intersections, like Union Turnpike and Springfield Boulevard. What are you doing about it?
A: There was one fatality on [Friday,] June 4 at P.S. 162 [the John Golden School at 201-02 53rd Avenue in Bayside.] A parent was struck while crossing the street – there was a School Crossing Guard but no traffic control devices. Illegal parking around schools and overloading of vehicles is a safety issue. We’re working with the DOT [the city’s Department of Transportation] to look at engineering, such as four-way stop signs, striping and “School Crossing” markers. That’s all we can do. If we get a complaint from a principal, we enhance enforcement, but we can’t cover every school every day.
Q: What about dangerous intersections?
A: We give directed enforcement at historical and present APLs [Accident Prone Locations] where there have been four accidents in 28 days. I understand that a woman was struck there some time ago and died at the hospital. I’m going to look into that intersection personally and see if there’s anything we can do. Unfortunately, we have several APLs in the command, including spots with red-light cameras, where people slam on their brakes when they don’t have to – to avoid getting a ticket. I would like to see count-down lights where they have the cameras.
Q: Anything else?
A: We had an uptick in youth-on-youth crime in May, but deployed Anti-crime, Conditions and School units. We made a couple of quality arrests and the numbers went down. As a matter of fact, after two arrests in the Windsor Park section, we’ve had no burglaries in June. Two kids with records may have been responsible for a lot of burglaries. Their bail was set at $300,000.
Q: Any message for the public?
A: You can help us in two ways. First, call 9-1-1 if you see something suspicious, and second, don’t make it easy for criminals. Most burglaries are crimes of opportunity. Don’t leave your doors unlocked and your windows open if you’re not there – in your home or your car.