By Connor Adams Sheets
Crime is an issue in all city parks, but College Point Park has long seen a relatively low rate of incidents.
That seems to have changed in recent months, as complaints by area community members and business owners have risen about issues including drug dealing, loitering, public drinking and fighting at the park located at College Point Boulevard and 14th Avenue.
So Monday afternoon in College Point, about a dozen community leaders, area residents, business owners, police officers from the 109th Precinct, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) gathered for a meeting in the park to discuss ways to address the recent rise in criminal activity there.
“Some of the local business owners had expressed concerns with recent upticks in crimes in the park — there was drinking in public there, there was drug dealing,” Steve Stites, a spokesman for Halloran, said. “They brought their concerns to Halloran, Padavan and the 109th and the meeting yesterday was to take the temperature of everything, discuss everything and see how they can move forward and make the park safer.”
The consensus was that the park would do well to have a fence around it, as many parks across the city do, and to have an official open and close time, which would enable police officers to arrest individuals who are in the park after-hours.
Halloran plans to take the lead and work with the city Parks Department to get the fence and signs indicating a closing time of 9 p.m. installed.
“College Point Park provides a valuable green space for the neighborhood,” Halloran said. “I am committed to making it a safe place for College Point’s families and seniors. I will be working with the Parks Department to build a fence around the park. That way, we can crack down on crime and any behavior that hurts the neighborhood’s quality of life.”
Detective Kevin O’Donnell of the 109th Precinct said that fencing in the property will boost the city Police Department’s ability to fight crime there.
“The community has been complaining about kids hanging out late at night and disturbing the quality of life around the park,” O’Donnellï»¿ said. “When we get a complaint, as soon as we leave the park they’re back in there again. So once we get it gated with the councilman’s help, that will solve that problem and it will improve the quality of life for area residents.”
The style of fence has not been decided on yet, but Stites said he believes it will likely be a standard chain-link design.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.