Car Break-Ins, Eyesores At JPCA/COP104 Meet
The commanding officer of the 104th Precinct reported an overall drop in crime around the precinct’s confines and heard concerns from residents about vehicle break-ins across Maspeth and Middle Village during a meeting of the Committee of Organizations of Precinct 104 (COP104) held before the Juniper Park Civic Association’s (JPCA) session last Thursday night, Mar. 8, in Middle Village.
Capt. Michael Cody stated that the precinct has seen major felonies drop by 1.5 percent year-to-date, with notable reductions in grand larcenies, auto thefts and slight drops in burglaries and felony assaults. Robberies are the most prevalent crime so far in 2012, the commander stated, with 49 incidents reported through Mar. 4. In the same period last year, just 26 holdups were tallied by the command.
“Obviously, the warm weather has had an effect,” Cody said, as the unseasonably warm weather experienced during January and February allowed for more residents-and criminals-to be out on the street more frequently.
Most of the robberies occurred in the Ridgewood area, the captain pointed out; there were no robberies over the last four weeks in sections of Maspeth and Middle Village within the JPCA’s coverage area, he added.
The 104th Precinct continues to lead all other commands in the NYPD in graffiti arrests, as 115 collars have been made over the first two months of 2012, Cody stated. Among the arrests included an 18- year-old man busted on Feb. 1 for vandalizing 16 locations in the vicinity of Juniper Valley Road and 74th Street.
A man who lives in an area of western Middle Village between Eliot and Metropolitan avenues claimed that his vehicle and several others belonging to neighbors on the block have been broken into by thieves in recent weeks. He stated that residents in the area believe the suspect(s) responsible for the thefts lives in the area.
Cody stated that the precinct has made a number of arrests of those suspected of vehicle break-ins around the command in recent weeks. He urged residents to call 911 immediately if they see anyone suspicious on their block who may be peering through the windows or attempting to get into a parked vehicle.
Residents also complained about a number of recyclable collectors who have illegally walked through driveways and yards to obtain bottles and cans in receptacles. The captain reminded that trespassing is a crime, and that such incidents should also be reported to police immediately.
“If someone’s on your property and you don’t want them there, call us,” Cody advised.
Two women also sought police action to stop parents from illegally double- and triple-parking their cars along Eliot Avenue near Our Lady of Hope School during dismissal hours. The conditions, they noted, make it not only difficult for buses and other cars on Eliot Avenue to drive safely, but also endanger children and other pedestrians attempting to cross the street.
The conditions were confirmed by a student at OLH who also serves on the school’s Safety Patrol. He told the captain that many parents have illegally parked their vehicles in bus stops along Eliot Avenue adjacent to the campus.
Cody stated that the precinct would increase its efforts to crack down on drivers who illegally park and break other traffic laws near the school and others around the area.
Clean up eyesores
During the JPCA meeting, Civic President Robert Holden blasted a perceived lack of action by the Department of Buildings to take action against allegedly negligent owners of properties in the community.
He noted that the JPCA has been putting pressure on the city agency to punish the owner of an 84th Street home which has been “an eyesore for a decade.” Not only is the home in a general state of disrepair, Holden claimed that the property owner illegally parks two commercial vehicles in the driveway on a nightly basis.
In searching the records of the home, the civic president discovered that the DOB has issued over $25,000 in fines to the property owners for various violations in the last 10 years, but no other enforcement action has been taken.
Holden stated that while the JPCA can put pressure on the DOB, “our City Council member can do more.” He openly challenged Council Member Crowley to do something to address the situation.
‘I Love My Block’
Shaleen Shah of the Citizens Committee of New York presented the JPCA with a $1,000 “I Love My Block” grant to help fund upcoming community cleanups around Maspeth and Middle Village. In addition to the grant, Shah noted that the JPCA will also receive supplemental services from city agencies such as the Sanitation Department during each cleanup event.
The JPCA has worked over the last year with its children’s organization, the Juniper Juniors, to remove debris and paint over graffiti on several bridges in the area, including the 69th Street, Juniper Boulevard South and Eliot Avenue overpasses above the CSX rail line.
Len Santoro, JPCA member in charge of the Juniper Juniors, indicated that the “I Love My Block” grant would be used to fund cleanups at two locations on Saturday, May 5. One of the locations may be the Calamus Avenue underpass below the CSX line just over the Elmhurst/Woodside border.
Santoro urged members of the group to volunteer for the cleanups and to also assist the organization in painting over graffiti at previously cleaned locations.
The next COP104 meeting will be held on Wednesday night, Apr. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Hope School, located at the corner of Eliot Avenue and 71st Street in Middle Village. For more information, call 1- 718-651-5865.