NYPD launches social media program in NE Queens

By Madina Toure

The NYPD launched its brand-new social media campaign at the 109th Precinct’s monthly council meeting at the Police Academy in College Point last week.

Nearly 200 people packed into the auditorium of the police academy on College Point Boulevard and 28th Avenue for the council’s monthly meeting, the first precinct council meeting to be held at the academy, as representatives from the NYPD and the 109th Precinct announced the new program.

The NYPD is piloting the program in the 109th Precinct, whose coverage area is Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Beechhurst, College Point, downtown Flushing, East Flushing, Fort Totten, Kissena Park, Linden Hill, Malba, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill and Whitestone.

The goal of the program is to determine quality of life issues such as graffiti, speeding, excessive noise, double-parked cars and truck traffic.

Capt. Thomas Conforti said they are aiming for an “intimate, unique blog group.”

“We’re not trying to exclude people, but we’re trying to include the right people,” Conforti said.

Zach Tumin, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for strategic initiatives, said the program is an experiment that will require community input.

“We will be watching this closely and with great interest,” Tumin said.

The website officially launched the night of April 8. Residents can visit www.nypd.ideascale.com and register.

The current question on the website asks residents what disorderly conditions in their neighborhood trouble them the most and would improve quality of life in their neighborhood if they were addressed. Residents can comment and submit suggestions.

The question will be up for two weeks, after which the precinct will pursue another question. The question may be up longer if feedback is very good or to give people more time to register, for example.

The precinct has been promoting the new program through social media and fliers at events and eventually shopping centers.

There are more than 100,000 residents in the precinct’s area, according to Chrissy Voskerichian, president of the precinct’s community council.

So far, there are about 700 users registered on the website.

Issues raised on the website include a larger police presence, alcohol, loitering, speeding, stop sign violations and more interaction between residents and precinct officers.

Voskerichian said she is organizing a meeting with civic leaders and elected officials or their representatives.

“We get dozens of comments every single day,” Voskerichian said in an interview with TimesLedger.

Pauline Murray, president of the Flushing chapter of the National Congress of Black Women, expressed concerns about the lack of the diversity of the audience and limited access for individuals with disabilities.

But she said the program is in its beginning stages.

“This is in experimental stage so you have to give them the benefit of the doubt,” Murray said.

Voskerichian said she could not speak to how long the pilot phase would last, but said it is a work in progress.

“There’s a lot of engagement, there’s a lot of interaction,” she said. “We just have to really remember that the 109 is the pilot for this.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.