Board 5 Also Weighs In On Gun Control
Crime was the hot topic at the Community Board 5 meeting last Wednesday night, Jan. 9, at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, as members learned of an overall decrease in felonies around the 104th Precinct during 2012 and later engaged in a lively debate on gun control.
Deputy Inspector Michael Cody, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, offered a year-end report for crime in the command during 2012, stating that overall felonies dropped by 2.6 percent for the year. He credited the plunge to both the efforts of his officers as well as input and cooperation from the community.
Just one homicide took place dur- ing 2012: the fatal shooting of a bodega worker in Ridgewood on Dec. 20. The case remains under investigation, and while Cody was unable to go into further detail about it publicly, he noted that detectives have a number of leads which are being pursued.
Rapes increased slightly during the year, the commander noted, with 15 reported in 2012, up one from 2011. Robberies were also up, with 279 incidents reported to the precinct last year, 17 more than the previous 12 months.
The precinct experienced a spike in robberies at the start of 2012, Cody stated, as warmer-than-normal weather resulted in a higher amount of criminal activity. But as the year went on, he stated, the 104th Precinct was “able to catch up,” making a number of notable robbery arrests along the way.
Felony assaults were virtually “flat” between 2011 and 2012, the deputy inspector said, with 254 cases reported last year, only four higher than the previous year. The majority of the incidents were classified as being domestic in nature, he noted.
Meanwhile, burglaries, grand larcenies and auto thefts all plunged last year, Cody told the board. A total of 390 break-ins were recorded, down from 402 last year. Grand larcenies dropped by 15 (from 544 in 2011 to 529 in 2012) and there were 38 fewer auto theft cases (from 249 in 2011 to 211 in 2012).
As part of keeping crime low, the 104th Precinct’s officers made more arrests last year, Cody stated. Working in cooperation with the NYPD Transit Bureau, arrests for crimes which occurred in the transit system jumped by 60 percent last year. There were also over 630 collars made by the 104th Precinct for suspected narcotics activity and over 200 arrests of alleged drunk drivers.
The deputy inspector also noted that the command conducted 10 undercover operations targeting prostitution in the area of Cypress Avenue and Starr Street in Ridgewood. All of the operations were successful, as they led to nearly 100 arrests as well as the seizure of 24 vehicles used in the illegal sex sale activity.
Looking ahead to 2013, Cody expressed confidence that the precinct will work to drop crime even further. He noted that the command received help toward that end earlier this month in the form of 12 additional officers transferred from other precincts across the city.
“It’s very early in the year, but I’m very confident with the staff I have on hand, we’ll take care of business,” the commander added.
In the wake of the Ridgewood murder and mass shootings such as the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last month, board members debated whether it was time for stricter gun control laws to be in place.
District Manager Gary Giordano stated that gun violence has become “an enormous problem in America, and I think it has been neglected for too long.”
“There is in the Second Amendment a right to bear arms. I personally don’t think our forefathers ever intended that to mean the type of weapons that are available today,” he said, referring to semi-automatic weapons and rapid-fire assault rifles commonly used in such gun violence. “It’s a huge problem in America, and we live in some good communities … but you don’t have to go far from our communities before the murder rates soar.”
Peter Comber observed that politicians and others who favor tougher gun laws will need to doorto door in every single congressional district to make the case for their cause and shatter the perception shared by some that “the government in Washington can’t be trusted.”
On the other side of the debate, Peggy O’Kane noted that changing the gun laws will only serve to impede the right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms.
“I lived in a household with a gun, and we never shot anyone,” she said. “The same people who think that a law can prevent people from using a gun are the same people who think a law can prevent people from using drugs.”
Echoing those sentiments was Richard Huber, who said that, by enacting new gun laws, the government would be “putting all sorts of restrictions to feel good that we’ve done something.” He also stated that other reasons for the causes of mass murders, such as the psychological state of the killer, also need to be addressed.
“We’ve never looked at all these mass murders. Most of the [murderers] were medicated people, whether they were on excessive medication or a lack thereof,” he said. “That’s something that is the giant gorilla in the room that’s not being addressed. As big as the NRA is as a lobbying group, the pharmaceutical companies are just as big.”
“The Constitution was designed to prevent the government from taking the guns away from you,” said Vernon McDermott. “They meant for you to have guns in order to stop the government from taking away your rights.”
Seeking rail upgrades
Mary Parisen, the co-chair of Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), reported that she spoke at a recent meeting of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council and reiterated the coalition’s plea to push for upgrades to diesel locomotives used on area freight lines.
“There are plans for rail terminals to be opened, but where is the plan to upgrade the locomotives being run and operated by the State of New York and leased to New York and Atlantic Railway?” Parisen said. CURES has maintained that the locomotives used by freight rail operators such as the railway are antiquated, emitting excessive amounts of noise and diesel fumes.
The organization has called upon local elected officials to press the state and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to “repower” the locomotive fleet with quieter and more fuel efficient engines.
Parisen also noted that Rep. Grace Meng, in a meeting arranged by State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, agreed to help the coalition by advocating legislation mandating that container cars which are used to haul construction and demolition debris are capped. Meng also reportedly agreed to seek funding for locomotive upgrades.
Arcuri announced that the board received demolition notices for two locations: a property at 60-63 80th Ave. in Glendale and a former Blockbuster Video store at 73-55 Grand Ave. in Maspeth. The Maspeth location is the proposed site of a new TD Bank.
Board members were advised to keep a careful eye on each location and to report any questionable activities.
The board has also received the following liquor license applications for its perusal:
– A new liquor license for 67-32 Metro Corp. for a business name to be determined, located at 67-32 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village (formerly PJ Quinn’s bar);
– Liquor license renewals for Ridgewood Lodge 1642 Loyal Order of Moose Inc., located at 72-15 Grand Ave. in Maspeth; Seneca Fiesta Corp., located at 603 Seneca Ave. in Ridgewood; Frank Kowalinski Post 4 of the Polish Legion of American Veterans, located at 61-57 Maspeth Ave. in Maspeth; 64-56 Restaurant Corp., d.b.a. Danny Boy’s, located at 64-56 Dry Harbor Rd. in Middle Village; Gottscheer Central Holding Co. Inc., d.b.a. Gottscheer Hall, located at 655/657 Fairview Ave. in Ridgewood; Gmina Polska Inc., located at 61-60 56th Rd. in Maspeth; Assembly Bar & Grill Inc., d.b.a. Assembly Bar and Grill, located at 73-02 Cooper Ave. in Glendale; and Glendale Restaurant Group 2830 Inc., d.b.a. Edison Place, located at 71-28/30 Cooper Ave. in Glendale.
– A new wine and/or beer license for Crystal Williams, d.b.a. Norma’s, located at 59-02 Catalpa Ave., in Ridgewood.
– Wine and/or beer license renewals for La Cocina de Mama Inc., located at 56-13 Metropolitan Ave. in Ridgewood; CBC Pizza Corp., d.b.a. Glendale Pizza, located at 68-27 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale; 6265 Exclusive Rosa’s Corp., d.b.a. Rosa’s Pizza, located at 62-65 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood; and Carlo Pizza of Metropolitan Ave., d.b.a. Carlo’s Pizza, located at 74-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village.
Those who wish to comment on any of the above applications may do so by calling Board 5’s Glendale office at the number listed at the end of this article.
The next Community Board 5 meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday night, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Regional High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village. For more information, call 1-718-366- 1834.