Street Safety Push Includes Lower Speed Limit
Crime issues within the 112th Precinct and the reduction of the NYC speed limit as part of the Vision Zero initiative were among the topics discussed at the Community Board 6 meeting in Kew Gardens last Tuesday, Oct. 7.
Capt. Judith Harrison took over command of the 112th Precinct in July and has attended Board 6 meetings before, but greeted the community again last Tuesday night. She gave attendees an update on crime in the precinct and spoke about efforts to implement Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, including the city-wide speed limit being reduced to 25 mph next month.
“Crime-wise, just to give you a little bit of statistics … we’re slighty elevated in crime in the 28-day period,” Harrison stated. “We were up seven crimes as compared to the same period last year. What actually seems to be driving this crime in the 112th Precinct are the property crimes, the grand larcenies.”
The captain said scams with the GreenDot money cards continue.
“I can’t tell you how many people have fallen for these scams. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.
“They’ll tell you that you owe them money, and that if you don’t give them that money they are going to threaten you,” she said. “Specifically they ask you to go and get a GreenDot money pack. And what they want are the numbers off of that card.”
The most recent victim of this hustle was just last week, she said: “We had a woman, just two days ago, she got a phone call … that said that her grandson was in an accident, a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey, and that she needed to wire money to Mexico.”
“It was just heart wrenching because she wired this money to Mexico and now she’s out the money,” Harrison added.
The con artists have bilked many with these types of scams, and they are varied, but all lead to the same end, separating individuals from their money, she said.
“There are so many of these scams out there and I really caution you just to really be careful. Always verify information,” Harrison stated. “IRS will never call you and tell you to get a GreenDot money pack. They won’t do that, that’s not how they are going to contact you.”
The captain said anyone who is a victim, or knows someone who was scammed, should let the police know.
“I really caution you against these scams,” she said. “If you’re made aware of them, please let us know so we can help you.”
She spoke on the mayor’s Vision Zero initiative as well. Harrison notified attendees that, unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in all five boroughs will be reduced from 30 to 25 mph effective Nov. 7.
“They’ve identified certain traffic infractions that they feel when we aggressively enforce against these infractions we can have an impact on the amount of collisions, or more importantly the amount of injury collisions and the amount of fatalities,” Harrison said.
Aimed at reducing trafficrelated fatalities to zero, the initiative is enforced by police to make streets safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The speed limit reduction was passed on Oct. 7 in the City Council.
“They’ve concluded that it’s a more manageable speed,” Harrison said. “In other words, if you have an accident or collisions at that speed you you’re less likely to suffer a fatality or serious injury.”
Identical to how other dangerous violations were targeted, drivers will first be educated about the change, then penalized.
“The first thing we are going to do is we are going to have an educational piece,” Harrison said. “After two weeks, enforcement will begin.”
Specially trained officers using radar will track vehicles and issues summonses to speeders, she said.
Concerning traffic issues, Harrison also addressed some problems at Austin Street and Queens Boulevard, where a left turn is no longer allowed.
“I’ll tell you what the problem is, in my opinion, that’s an engineering problem. It’s really an engineering, or reengineering problem,” she said.
She thinks more, updated and better signage should be installed to help, and added that old pavement markings are still visible.
“It’s not clear before you get in the lane that you can’t make a left turn,” Board 6 Chairperson Joseph Hennessy said.
He added that Department of Transportation officials will be at next month’s meeting.
“Hopefully the 25 mph speed limit is going to save lives,” Hennessy added.
Community Board 6 generally meets on the second Wednesday of the month at Kew Gardens Community Center, Room 202, 80-02 Kew Gardens Road. Meetings begin at 7:45 p.m.