BY BENJAMIN MANDILE
The NYPD plans to take crime and put it in its place as it ramps up coverage in certain areas of Ozone Park that have been riddled by crime for the past 18 months by putting out more patrols and a temporary headquarters.
The 102nd Precinct and the 106th Precinct both have response orders, meaning that they are adding extra patrols in and around the 101st Avenue and Liberty Avenue areas, according to Sam Esposito, president of the Ozone Park Residents Block Association.
Assemblyman Mike Miller recently spoke with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office and a representative of the NYPD in regard to the crime in the city-line corridor.
The NYPD representative reached out to the 102nd Precinct and 106th Precinct to increase patrols and put better lighting in certain areas.
The department has already returned its mobile command post to 78th Street and Liberty Avenue as of Friday, Feb. 21, according to Miller. Night lights have also been requisitioned for this area, according to Esposito.
A couple of months ago, lights and a temporary command post were installed and the area saw improvement, Miller said. When the NYPD took the command post away, an uptick in crime in the city-line corridor returned.
There had been 19 robberies by the end of February 2019 since the beginning of the year in the 106th Precinct. By the end of February this year, there have been 35 robberies since Jan. 1, 2020, a 105 percent increase on year-to-year comparison, according to CompStat data.
There had been 25 felony assaults by the end of February 2019 since the beginning of the year in the 106 precinct. By the end of February of this year there have been 30 felony assaults since Jan. 1, 2020, a 20 percent increase on year-to-year comparison, according to CompStat data.
The 102nd Precinct has also seen an increase in crime rates.
There had been 20 robberies in the 102nd Precinct by the end of February 2019 since the beginning of the year. From Jan. 1, 2020, through the end of February, there had been 27 robberies, a 35 percent change on year to year comparison, according to CompStat data.
There had been 18 felony assaults in the 102nd Precinct by the end of February 2019 since the beginning of the year. By the end of February this year there have been 28, a 55 percent increase on year to year comparison, according to CompStat data.
Miller believes that with higher rates of NYPD patrols, crime — including the increase of assaults and robberies — will decrease.
Esposito hopes a fifth sector can be added to help the issue.
“We’re not asking for a permanent infiltration of police,” Esposito said. “What we really are asking for is an extra sector in that area.”
A Feb. 20 Facebook post from the Ozone Park Residents Block Association (OZPKRBA) included information on the changes of patrols provided to them by the 102nd Precinct Community Affairs Officer Ed Martinez and the 102nd Precinct Executive Officer Capt. Jeremy Kivlin.
These changes include “flooding” the area with as many auxiliary patrols as possible, returning the NYPD mobile command post and creating a specific auto response patrol for 101st and Liberty avenues, according to a representative of the OZPKRBA. This patrol will run from 88th Street in the east to the Brooklyn border in the west.
DCPI would not confirm the validity of the information and referred QNS to an email sent previously that stated the NYPD does not share staffing information for security reasons, but said “precinct staffing levels are carefully monitored but constantly fluctuate.”
“I think they’re [NYPD] taking this very seriously now, because they realize [that we’re] demanding from the governor that he come down here and do something,” Esposito said. “I think that now they realize it is serious and we do have problems in that section because of the Brooklyn border.”
Miller and other state representatives reached out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in late February requesting New York State Police be sent to the area to help alleviate the pressure and patrol the area.
A Facebook post by Esposito to the OZPKRBA page posted March 2 indicated that New York State Police has been allocated to the area. This was confirmed by Assemblywomen Stacey Pheffer Amato’s office March 2. Amato said the state police presence was in response to the letter sent earlier in February.
Esposito on March 5 told QNS that the 106th Precinct has confirmed that they are stepping up patrols in the area as well.
Esposito believes that because of the long response time that “perps” are coming across the Brooklyn-border to commit crimes and are able to cross back and make it back home before a description is taken and sent out.
“The crimes are not being committed by Queens residents, by any means,” he said.
He said in a follow up interview that he does not know of any data to support this claim, but he believes it due to his experience as a retired police officer and what the Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol sees out on its patrols.
“Crime in Ozone Park is a concern as is all crime anywhere in Community Board 10’s area,” said Betty Bratton, Community Board 10 board chair. “Community Board 10 is in regular contact with the command structure of the 106th Precinct in an effort to get this pattern of crime stopped.”
Security cameras in the area remain a possibility, but Miller said he has yet to meet with precinct commanders as of Feb. 25 to determine where to install them. It is up to the NYPD to determine where to install the cameras.
Amato said that it usually takes time to get security cameras, but that she had reached out to de Blasio’s office in an attempt to expedite their implementation in the Ozone Park area.