BY DEAN MOSES
Newly minted Commanding Officer of the 104th Precinct Louron E. Hall joined a virtual G-COP meeting on Nov. 12 to introduce himself to the neighborhood patrol.
The 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol – also known as G-COP – has been in operation for over 40 years, through which time they have assisted the NYPD with traffic and crowd control while also regularly patrolling and reporting suspicious activity in western Queens to the police.
In order to continue this working relationship that has lasted the better part of four decades, G-COP held a Zoom conference call hosted by current President Elizabeth De La Cruz, allowing Hall to speak with the citizen task force where they could learn more about him and how they can assist each other going forward.
The webinar commenced with Hall explaining his background prior to joining the 104th Precinct in October. The commanding officer informed the group of his 20-plus years of experience serving as a member of law enforcement, as well as going into detail regarding his time as a narcotic investigator, which led him to obtaining his detective shield. Prior to stepping into the role previously held by Deputy Inspector Victoria C. Perry, he also spent two years commanding Rockaway’s 100th Precinct.
Although he emphasized the transition had been a smooth one, he also spoke of the challenges he had and still has to face as a new leader.
“The 100th Precinct, when I left, had 400 index crimes up until Sept. 21. When I got here, the 104th Precinct had 1,200 index crimes, so it has three times the amount of crime than where I came from and this precinct is in the top-three as it relates to 311 complaints, so [we are] busy all the way around,” said Hall.
Upon hearing this, G-COP was keen to discover how they could ease the burden on officers. But in order for the two parties to be able to collaborate effectively, Hall gave a rundown of the number of crimes in the area and how they correlate to 2019 figures.
In comparison to last year, burglaries and grand larcenies have exponentially increased. Burglaries alone are up 80 percent, rising to 268 compared to last year’s 149 crimes reported, the two highest forms of which have been residential and commercial. The total number of felony assaults have also risen with about 250 crimes reported.
“What’s really driving our felony assaults are the domestic felony assaults,” Hall said.
“The residential [burglaries] really started to kick up when the pandemic — maybe three or four months into the pandemic it wasn’t as novel as it was from inception in the months February and March, so to speak. Now people started going back to work, we started to experience residential burglaries in the daytime,” Hall said.
Hall also added that video surveillance hasn’t been of assistance in identifying criminals due to the pandemic.
“Back in the day, pre-pandemic, it would be considered suspicious to wear a mask and a hoodie, now it’s not,” Hall said.
As the holidays approach, shoplifting is one of the biggest issues facing the community, Hall said. Over the next few weeks, the 104th Precinct is working on a plan to distribute preventative information to commercial areas, including Myrtle Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue, and once it is completed, G-COP can distribute these packets, helping to not only ease the workload on officers but also deter crimes thanks to their presence.
Residents on the call also notified Hall about concerns they requested the 104th look into, such as noise complaints generated by a cavalcade of motorcars that blast music during the early hours of the morning. Hall assured locals that he is aware of this issue, and even shared an image from his phone of a car with a large sound system attached.
The meeting culminated with Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. thanking G-COP for their service, and highlighting their tribute website where individuals can share what the organization means to them.