By Sadef Ali Kully
The 103rd Precinct reported at its monthly Precinct Council meeting Tuesday crime dropped 29 percent in April compared to last year, but residents raised concerns following the shooting death of NYPD Officer Brian Moore.
After a moment of silence for Moore, the 103rd Precinct Deputy Inspector Cappelmann said, “Time and time again, after any tragedy, we rise to the occasion and now I say this about this community. The community’s support helps us get back to doing what we do.”
Moore, who was shot during a confrontation with an armed suspect in Queens Village, was remembered at the meeting held at St. Benedict’s Church on 110th Avenue.
Cappelmann reported that overall crime was down by 29 percent within a 28-day period from April 6 to May 3 compared to the same time last year and that so far this year, the police, have recorded two shootings, down from six shootings last year within the same time period.
“As I have said before, one shooting is one too many,” said Cappelmann. “We will keep trying to make this a safer and better neighborhood for residents.”
The first shooting was of a former Marine who suffered from mental illness and opened fire on police officers after shooting up a pub and the second was the murder of a young man, who was allegedly a gang member, targeted by possibly a rival gang. The case was still being investigated.
There were also two shooting incidents. In the first incident three men fired shots at plainclothes officers and two were arrested. In the second involving an out-of-control domestic dispute no arrests were made, but police know the identity and are actively looking for the gunman, Cappelmann said.
Residents were upset by the loss of Moore, who had worked in the 103rd Precinct before moving to the nearby 105th Precinct. Despite the decrease in crime, they were still concerned about safety in their area. Many stood up and said to bring back the tougher stop-and-frisk policy, which has been utilized less frequently after a judge’s ruling to use the practice more judiciously following hundreds of complaints filed against the department. Mayor Bill de Blasio has been an outspoken critic of the widespread use of stop and frisk, which often targeted minorities.
“Stop and frisk needs to be used correctly, not as a tool for enforcement,” responded Cappelmann, who added that most of the guns seized in Jamaica, like the one used to kill Moore, are mostly from North Carolina or Georgia.
“Stopping [stop and frisk] was the biggest mistake de Blasio ever made,” said Beulah Wilson, who has lived in Queens Village since 1979 under the jurisdiction of the 105th Precinct. “Maybe Officer Moore would be alive today if that guy had been stopped and frisked. I don’t care what anybody thinks – this is my personal opinion and I am not afraid.”