102nd Captain Urges All To Keep Alert
Following a deadly pedestrian accident at a Woodhaven intersection earlier this month, the 102nd Precinct is stepping up efforts to improve safety on local streets, the commanding officer reported at the 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting last Tuesday night, Feb. 19, in Richmond Hill.
Capt. Henry Sautner told attendees at the Richmond Hill public library that the command is working with NYPD Patrol Borough Queens South on a public education campaign to urge both drivers and pedestrians to avoid using their cell phones while traveling and pay close attention to their surroundings.
The effort is underway in the wake of a Feb. 14 accident at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard in Woodhaven in which a 67-year-old man was fatally struck by a vehicle. Based on information police obtained during their investigation, the captain noted, it appeared the victim crossed against the light.
An analysis of recent vehicular accidents around the 102nd Precinct found that the fault of each incident was split “almost 50-50” between the driver and the pedestrian, Sautner said. “Ultimately, the idea is to reduce accidents, not pass blame,” he stated.
In response, the 102nd Precinct is taking a “tough love approach” to vehicular violations, stopping and issuing summonses to drivers who are spotted by police talking or texting on a cell phone behind the wheel, Sautner informed residents.
“It shouldn’t be any different for pedestrians,” he added. “You shouldn’t be texting on the phone on the street. There is not a phone call that is so urgent that you can’t wait to cross the street to answer that text or make a phone call.”
Sautner noted the command and Patrol Borough Queens North is in the process of forming a “comprehensive plan” to disseminate traffic safety information at local churches, schools and other venues. The precinct is also working cooperatively with the city Department of Transportation in analyzing accidentprone locations and considering potential solutions to reduce incidents, he added.
“It’s definitely something we, as a community together, can make an impact,” he concluded.
The 102nd Precinct is slightly down in major crime for the first seven weeks of 2013, but finished the most recent 28-day period up exactly seven crimes, Sautner announced.
“Our big driving factor has been burglaries,” he said, noting that the precinct has received reports of break-ins of homes while residents were away on vacation.
The burglaries are reportedly not part of a pattern and locations were scattered around the precinct’s confines.
The captain urged homeowners to take advantage of free home security surveys offered by the NYPD through the 102nd Precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit as well as other programs to safeguard property.
Cop of the Month
P.O. Joseph Cortright was honored as the 102nd Precinct’s Cop of the Month for recently helping to capture a suspected robber in Woodhaven.
According to Sautner, Cortright and several other members of the 102nd Precinct Conditions Unit responded to a call of a woman who was robbed at the corner of 88th Avenue and 86th Street. Upon their arrival, they learned that a 58-year-old woman had her purse snatched by a suspect described as a 17-year-old male.
Cortright and his colleagues reportedly obtained from a witness a detailed description of the perpetrator and began a search of the surrounding area. Moments later, they stopped a 17-year-old male, who fit the description, and took him into custody after he was positively identified as the suspected robber.
During questioning, Sautner noted, police learned that the perpetrator had been involved in three other thefts prior to the incident, including stealing a purse from a 70- year-old woman.
For his efforts, Sautner and 102nd Precinct Community Council President Latchman Buddha presented Cortright with a plaque donated by the Times Newsweekly.
Assemblyman Mike Miller thanked the 102nd Precinct for their overall crime fighting efforts as well as their attention to illegal car dealers who have parked “for sale” vehicles on area streets.
The lawmaker also advised residents the budget negotiations have begun, and the Assembly has begun working on its own spending plan for the new fiscal year.
Miller outlined details of the recently passed state gun-control legislation, which included provisions designed to prevent persons with mental illness from gaining access to guns. A caveat of the bill also provides funds to schools to bolster security at various entries, Miller added.
German Pietrera of the New York Blood Center invited all to donate blood at the 102nd Precinct’s blood drive, which was held last Friday, Feb. 22 at their Richmond Hill stationhouse. The NYBC had a goal of collecting 40 pints from officers and members of the public.
Pietrera applauded the recent efforts of Richmond Hill High School students, who donated 115 pints of blood during their most recent drive. He noted that up to 2,000 pints of blood are needed each day at local hospitals to help save the lives of patients.
The next 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday night, Mar. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Richmond Hill library, located at 118-15 Hillside Ave. For more information, call the 102nd Precinct Community Affairs Unit at 1-718-805-3215.