Over 60 Whitestone residents — many of them newcomers — filled the room at St. Luke’s Church Tuesday night to address neighborhood concerns at the 109th Precinct Build the Block meeting.
Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO’s) Thomas Dean, Michael Petronzio and Crime Prevention Officer Mark Burger updated residents who reside in Sector D (Whitestone, Bayside, Murray Hill, Beechurst, North Flushing and Bay Terrace) on issues about speeding, how to prevent burglaries at home, and the opening of a College Point men’s homeless shelter, at St. Luke’s Church at 16-34 Clintonville St.
Burger, who has visited 162 locations within the sector identifying weaknesses where someone can enter a homeowners residence, encouraged the audience to take home flyers on how to prevent burglaries.
“I’ve surveyed about 140 homes and the other 42 locations are schools, houses of worship or commercial establishments,” said Burger, who received a list of homeowners interested in conducting the home survey.
Burger also informed residents of stolen wheels and rims from vehicles — preferably Honda, Nissan and Toyota models that have been targeted in the community.
“Using technology and checking the motion, your phone and being on top of who is at your door. The best thing is to identify … if it’s someone who shouldn’t be there definitely give us a call,” Burger said. “This helps for home break-ins, car break-ins, and rim and tire thefts.”
The most pressing issue that has long been provoking residents is speeding along the Cross Island Parkway and Francis Lewis Boulevard and overnight commercial parking, according to Dean.
“It’s something we’re well aware of. Our CO from the last meeting has contacted the [NYPD] Highway 3 commanding officer and Highway 3 has made some arrests, which is a huge adjustment from last summer,” Dean said. “Also, about two weeks ago, we did an operation with NCO’s at College Point and throughout the night issued 40 tickets to vehicles.”
Other residents brought forth concerns of marijuana cigarettes at Francis Lewis Park, cars parked overnight by fire hydrants, speeding cars in certain parts of the neighborhood and teens on bicycles harassing senior citizens by North Shore Farms — all of which the NCO officers said they have been aware of and addressed at meetings.
Meanwhile, the delayed opening of the controversial College Point men’s homeless shelter, which was slated to open in September at 127-03 20th Ave., has residents on edge worried for their safety.
“Right now, it’s not open. If anything new pops up at the precinct, it’s going to be closely monitored. If we see crime starts happening here, Deputy Inspector Shine I can assure you will deploy extra resources to pay special attention to the facility,” Dean said. “It’s going to be a day to day basis just trying to figure out what is going to happen. We understand it’s a very sensitive location with two to three schools, including an all girls school.”
According to Kim Cody, president of The Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Association, the College Point Civic Coalition has a court date in October to prevent the opening of the homeless shelter.
“Hopefully until they have their hearings in court, they will not open it until the court hears both sides,” Cody said.