MWEBA Presses NYPD On Quality Of Life
From speeding traffic to loitering teens, a host of qualityof life problems experienced by some Maspeth residents were brought to the attention of the 104th Precinct’s commanding officer at the Maspeth West End Block Association’s (MWEBA) meeting last Thursday night, May 31, at Trinity- St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church.
Capt. Michael Cody heard a host of complaints from local residents regarding vehicles which illegally travel down private community driveways and problems related to youths hanging out on the street during late-night hours.
An attendee told the commander that vehicles have been observed using a community driveway in the vicinity of 59th Drive and 60th Street to bypass a stoplight. That same alley is also used as a hangout by teenagers during overnights, added another resident, who pointed out that the site is littered with bottles and cigarettes on a regular basis.
Cody stated that he would have the precinct’s Conditions Team investigate loitering at the location. Though police cannot go into community driveways to stop vehicles passing through-as the alleys are private property-they can stop offending drivers as they exit the street.
One resident also complained about loiterers near the Metropolitan Oval soccer complex in the vicinity of Andrews Avenue and 56th Street. The attendee claimed that loud music is played during early morning hours and youths leave assorted garbage on nearby sidewalks.
The commander stated that he would reach out to Metropolitan Oval’s management about the problem and inform police officers on patrol in the area of the situation.
Overall crime is down one percent for the year throughout the en- tire 104th Precinct, Cody reported, but robberies, burglaries and felony assaults have all increased.
Robberies have spiked by 29 percent during the first five months of 2012, with 106 thefts reported; during the same time last year, 81 robberies occurred. The commander noted that most of the incidents took place in “the western end of the precinct” such as parts of Ridgewood and Maspeth, and police have made over 50 robbery arrests so far.
Felony assaults are also up slightly for the year, but the captain attributed the increase to recent changes in the penal code which elevated certain types of assaults previously considered to be misdemeanors. Most of the assaults, he added, were domestic in nature.
In response to a recent uptick in burglaries, Cody cautioned residents to help police by properly securing doors and windows in their homes or apartments. He cited the recent arrest of a suspect involved in a rash of break-ins around Middle Village in which the perpetrator entered through open windows or unlocked doors during overnight hours, sometimes while residents were inside sleeping.
“The best thing is prevention,” he stated, adding that anyone who witnesses suspicious individuals in the area should contact 911 immediately to have police respond to investigate. “If something doesn’t look right or seem right, it probably isn’t.”
P.O. Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct also reminded residents with air conditioning units inside their windows to make sure that they are properly secured in place with screws tightened into the windows.
“If you don’t, you’re basically leaving the window open for a burglar,” he added.
Fifteen officers have been added to the precinct’s roster, Cody stated. The new officers have been assigned to the evening and midnight tours at various locations around the command.
Asked by MWEBA Vice President Charlene Stubbs about the future of the former Ferrara Lumber yard on Andrews Avenue, Lydon Sleeper, chief-of-staff to City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, stated that no variances have been applied by the owners of the site for any changes.
“If they had plans to build housing there,” the owners would have already submitted an application for a zoning change, Sleeper indicated. The property is currently zoned for industrial or manufacturing use; any proposed change to residential use would require public review.
A local resident asked Sleeper about the demolition of a newsstand and gas station on the Fresh Pond Road/Metropolitan Avenue overpass, which was previously funded by Crowley. Sleeper stated that the city could not apply that funding toward the demolition only.
Since the city Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning the reconstruction of the overpass, Crowley is now working to attach that funding for the demolition of the vacant structures to the reconstruction project, Sleeper added.
Kathy Hamilton, MWEBA president, noted that she recently inquired with Crowley’s office for assistance regarding the proliferation of rats in the Maspeth area. Sleeper stated that the Department of Health has been notified of the problem and that workers would install traps in area catch basins to help reduce the rat population.
David Lillenthal, a financial advisor from Edward Jones’ Bayside office, provided some tips on investments and how parents can get their children to understand the importance of saving and investing money.
Lillenthal suggested that those who wish to invest their money in something stable pursue municipal government bonds, which offer taxfree interest rates from between one and eight percent at a minimum cost of $50 per bond.
For those wishing to start a fund for their children’s education, he advised residents to consider a 529 college plan, in which contributions of up to $5,000 annually are tax deductible. He also noted that there is no tax when the money is withdrawn from the account.
The next Maspeth West End Block Association meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday night, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. at Trinity-St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, located at the corner of 60th Street and 60th Avenue.