Tag Archives: 114th Precinct

Queens ‘Zombie Ride’ to encourage safe biking


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kidical Mass NYC

Wheels big and small will be going round and round this weekend through western Queens.

Advocacy organization Kidical Mass NYC will be hosting its third family bike ride and the first in Queens on Saturday, Oct. 25, through parts of Long Island City and Astoria.

The event, called “Zombie Ride,” will be a five-mile bike ride starting at the waterfront at Gantry Plaza State Park at the intersection of Center Boulevard and 47th Avenue.

The ride is open to intermediate-level bike riders or children ages 7 and up with good street-riding skills. Children in baby seats and on cargo bikes are also welcome to be a part of the event. 

“[We want to] make an opportunity to get kids to go around a city you walk, ride buses and drive in. It’s another way to get around,” said Hilda Cohen, one of the co-founders of Kidical Mass NYC.  “A lot of parents want to do this but are intimidated about it. It’s really a great way to see your city.”

The ride, which is named in the spirit of Halloween, will then continue through the Long Island City neighborhood and make its first stop at the rooftop garden Brooklyn Grange. After taking a rest stop at coffee shop COFFEED, the group will pass the Museum of the Moving Image and head back toward the waterfront to finish the ride at Socrates Sculpture Park, which will be hosting its Fall Festival. 

The young participants will also receive “spooky” treats such as zombie tattoos. 

“The name [of the event] has nothing to do with anything dangerous,” Cohen said. 

Kidical Mass NYC, which is the New York-based branch of the original Kidical Mass founded in Oregon, pays tribute to the national cycling event called Critical Mass.

Since starting in August, rides have taken place once a month in Brooklyn and Manhattan, bringing together about 40 participants, including adults and children. Now organizers have expanded the reach into Queens, hoping to attract residents from the other boroughs.

“Queens is the next big borough,” said Cristina Furlong of the organization Makes Queens Safer, who is helping Kidical Mass NYC organize the Queens event. “Queens is starting to get noticed.”

Members of the 108th and 114th precincts will also be in attendance on Saturday to provide extra security for the riders. 

“By being visible, I hope we influence some people that might be considering [cycling with their children] and show them that it’s safe,” Furlong said.

According to Cohen, although the event aims to show families that biking through their neighborhoods is a safe alternative to driving, the main goal of the day is to have fun. 

“We’re trying to make everything fun and exciting, which is exactly what biking is and it shouldn’t be something dangerous,” Cohen said. “This is just a means to enjoy our city with our kids.”

The “Zombie Ride” will begin at 10 a.m., with riders beginning to gather at 9:30 a.m. Cohen encourages those interested in participating to RSVP via the group’s Facebook page in order for every participant to receive their Halloween treats. Helmets are required for children 13 years old and under by law, and are recommended for everyone else, according to organizers. 

For more information visit www.facebook.com/kidicalmassnyc.

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Police searching for burglars in Astoria bicycle thefts


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy NYPD

Cops are looking for a pair of suspects in connection with two bicycle burglaries in Astoria within a two-week period.

The most recent incident occurred near 30th Avenue and 37th Street on Thursday. At around 8:35 p.m. the suspects entered a residential building and forced open a door to a basement storage area, where they took a Trek mountain bike, police said.

In the first incident on June 17, the suspects were able to access an underground parking garage around 7:40 a.m. in a residential building on 35th Avenue and 20th Street, and stole a Cannondale mountain bike, which was chained to a rack, authorities said.

Police have released a video of the June 26 theft.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Man arrested in 2013 LIC murder


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

Police have arrested a 27-year-old man for the murder of an aspiring hip-hop artist last year in Long Island City.

Francisco Leal, 27, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest on Feb. 2, 2013, at the corner of 21st Street and 41st Avenue near the Queensbridge Houses.

In December, the NYPD released a photo and information of the suspect wanted in connection to the murder.

Earlier last month, Clarence Scott, who police initially identified as Lawrence Scott, was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force April 4 in Virginia, according to published reports. He was then arraigned on April 25 in Queens Criminal Court, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Scott, who is being held without bail, was arraigned on charges of  second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, according to a criminal complaint.

 

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114th Precinct faces increase in burglaries


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

The 114th Precinct has faced a spike in burglaries since the beginning of the year, according to CompStat.

The increase is due to a string of home burglaries in which police say the suspects gain access to the roofs of apartment buildings, walk down fire escapes and enter homes through opened or unlocked windows, according to published reports.

For the 28-day period over the last month ending February 23 there was a 115 percent increase in burglaries with a total of 43 incidents, compared to 20 in the same period last year, according to NYPD statistics.

To find out more information, residents can call the 114 Precinct’s Crime Prevention Bureau at 718-626-9324.

 

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Meet the 114th Precinct’s new top cop


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney will draw on his close to 22 years of NYPD experience to lead the 114th Precinct on the right path.

“I’m looking forward to being here at the 114th Precinct, ultimately making it a better place for people to work and live,” Maloney said.

Maloney assumed his position on November 1 and is replacing Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi, who served the 114th Precinct for more than three years and was recently assigned to the NYPD’s Office of the Chief of Department.

“The community has been very supportive, very receptive,” said Maloney. “Everyone has been very welcoming. I’m looking forward to working with them as we go forward.”

The 22-year NYPD veteran said he recognizes the precinct and previous commanding officer’s accomplishments in reducing crime and hopes to continue the trend.

“The 114th is on the right path. Their crime reduction this year is one of the top in the city,” he said. “We’ll continue to build on [that].”

Maloney plans to use his experience from his two years at the NYPD Housing Police Department to focus on reducing crime in the area’s three major public housing projects: the Astoria Houses, Woodside Houses and the Queensbridge Houses.

The new commanding officer is also aware the area has a large nightlife component, for which he plans to balance the concerns of residents and businesses to “make everyone happy as best we can.”

Maloney also plans to work with residents, community leaders and local elected officials to create connections within the neighborhoods.

Before accepting his current position, Maloney was the commanding officer of the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway for more than a year. He also served as the Queens Narcotics Group Captain and spent time at the 61st, 67th, 71st and 85th Precincts in Brooklyn.

The Deputy Inspector was formally welcomed at the 114th Precinct Community Council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 26 at Ricardo’s, located at 21-04 24th Avenue in Long Island City.

“Everybody speaks highly about the cops here,” he said. “I look forward to building a relationship and getting to know the people of Astoria.”

 

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Motorcycle and SUV crash leaves two dead in Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Police are investigating a motorcycle and car collision that left two people dead in Astoria.

According to the NYPD, on Saturday, at approximately 4:30 p.m., they responded to a call of a collision between a motorcycle and an SUV, a Nissan Xterra, at the intersection of 20th Avenue and 24th Street in Astoria. An initial police investigation determined the Nissan Xterra was traveling west bound on 20th Avenue when the driver decided to make a U-turn at 24th Street to go east bound and the motorcycle struck the vehicle.

Upon arrival, paramedics pronounced the driver of the motorcycle, a 32-year-old man, and the passenger of the motorcycle, an unidentified woman, dead at the scene. The driver of the SUV, a 56-year-old woman, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she is currently listed in stable condition.

 

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Giants lineman pleads guilty to DUI in Queens court


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

This was definitely not in the playbook.

New York Giants offensive lineman David Diehl, who crashed his vehicle in Astoria in June 2012, has pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Diehl will be under court supervision for six months and must complete other court-imposed requirements prior to sentencing.

“Queens has a strict and very successful alternative sentencing program that emphasizes treatment and supervision of DUI offenders in order to prevent reoccurrences of unacceptable conduct,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“However, if the defendant, who is a first-time offender, fails to comply with all the requirements imposed by the Court, then we will seek more severe sanctions.”

According to the charges, Diehl was observed at approximately 8:20 p.m. on June 10, 2012, in the vicinity of 31-31 35th Street in Astoria, by a police officer from the 114th Precinct responding to the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving a 2011 BMW and two parked vehicles. Diehl was observed by the officer to have a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and to be unsteady on his feet.

Diehl admitted to police that he had been driving the BMW, which had damage on its front right side. An intoxilyzer test showed a blood alcohol content reading of .182 percent – which is more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent in New York.

Diehl, 32, of New Jersey, was released on his own recognizance at the time of his arrest. He pleaded guilty this week to one count of aggravated driving while under the influence and one count of driving while impaired.

The plea is conditioned on Diehl continuing in the NFL substance abuse treatment program, that he wear a SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) bracelet for 90 days, pay up to $1,200 in restitution to the owners of the two vehicles he damaged, participate in a Victim Impact Panel (an awareness program for first-time DWI offenders in which they hear from victims whose lives have been impacted by a drunk driver), and not drive or apply for a driver’s license until sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled.

Diehl is scheduled for the first of three compliance conferences on April 19, with the other two occurring at two-month intervals. After six months, if he has successfully complied with the sanctions and conditions imposed, then the aggravated DWI charge will be dismissed and he will be sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge on the driving while impaired charge.

 

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Pair con 68-year-old out of $4,500


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for two suspects that swindled $4,500 out of a 68-year-old woman in western Queens.

According to the NYPD, on December 12, the suspects, a man and a woman, came up to the victim and told her that they had found a large sum of money. They said that they could split the cash with her, but they would have to pay taxes on it.

They then drove the victim to the bank where she withdrew $4,500 and gave it to the male suspect. They drove to another location and when the victim got out of the vehicle, the suspects fled in in a black sedan with Connecticut plates.

The suspects are described as a black man and woman, both 35 to 40 years old. The male was wearing a brown suit and the female was wearing a dark hat, blue and white scarf, and dark blue jacket.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

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Man surrenders in brutal beating death of woman


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Three days after the alleged crime took place, accompanied by his mother and lawyer, Jason Bohn, 33, gave himself up to police, who arrested and charged him for the murder of his 27-year-old girlfriend, Danielle Thomas.

On Tuesday, June 26, officers from the 114th Precinct responded to a call at the couple’s shared Astoria apartment. The caller identified himself as Bohn, alleging a woman was unconscious inside the 33rd Street home.

When police arrived at the apartment, they discovered Thomas’ body laying face up in a bathtub filled with ice. Police noticed bruising on her forehead, face, shoulders, chest and neck, as well as lacerations to her face, mouth and chest. According to the medical examiner’s office, there was broken cartilage in Thomas’s neck, neck compressions, several fractures to her rib cage and a lacerated liver. Cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the neck and torso.

Alongside her body, police found two handwritten letters. The first note allegedly stated, “It was an accident, it was an accident, it was an accident…I had been drinking and I was drunk when I got home… She was already asleep…I woke up and there was fighting between us…When I woke up again she was unconscious …I am sorry.”

The second allegedly read, “Dani, I will love you forever.”

On June 7, Thomas reported a May assault incident to the 114th Precinct. According to her report, Bohn punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground, injuring her leg and leaving her with two black eyes. He also allegedly sent her threatening text messages and emails.

While filing the report, Bohn called Thomas. She put him on speakerphone and a police sergeant allegedly heard Bohn say “this is war, that [he] would hunt her down like a dog in the streets, and that [he would] bash in her skull.”

Police arrested Bohn that day and charged him with assault and aggravated harassment. He was arraigned on the charges and released on his own recognizance. Thomas received an order of protection against her boyfriend.

On Friday, June 29, Bohn was charged with second-degree murder, aggravated criminal contempt, first-degree criminal contempt and tampering with physical evidence.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

Attempts to reach Bohn’s attorney were unsuccessful as of press time.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

 

John Gotti grandson busted with a stash of steroids

The grandson of John (Teflon Don) Gotti was busted with a stash of steroids in Queens on Tuesday, police sources told the Daily News. A team of narcotics cops collared 18-year-old John Gotti — namesake of the notorious Gambino crime family boss — at a house near 92nd St. and 158th Ave. in Howard Beach shortly before 6 p.m., the sources said. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Georgia rapper busted at La Guardia Airport for having brass knuckles

What a knucklehead! A rapper from Georgia was busted with brass knuckles at LaGuardia Airport today, The Post has learned. Tauheed Epps, 34, who goes by the stage names 2 Chainz and Tity Boi, was stopped by TSA screeners at around 2:30 p.m. while passing through a security checkpoint in the Delta terminal, sources said. Read more: [New York Post]

 

NYRA Deal Aims To Revamp State’s Horse Racing Industry

Just weeks before the eyes of the horse racing world will be on the Belmont Stakes, Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with the state’s legislative leaders, announced Tuesday a deal to begin serious reform of the troubled New York Racing Association. Read more: [NY1]

 

R.A. Dickey K’s 11 Pirates as Lucas Duda lifts Mets

R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball is designed to baffle, not overwhelm. Against the free-swinging Pittsburg Pirates on Tuesday, it did both. His 80-mph knuckler dipping and darting all over the place, Dickey struck out a career-high 11 as the New York Mets hung on for a 3-2 victory. Dickey (6-1) tied a host of others for the most wins in the majors to continue the best start of his career. Read more: [ESPN]

 

Suspects Stole Blind Woman’s Wallet In Queens Before Using Her Credit Cards

Police are looking for a pair of suspects still at large in a brazen Queens theft. A 68-year-old blind woman was walking with her guide dog through the F line train station at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 75th Avenue around 6 p.m. on April 16 when one of the suspects reached into her dress pocket and took her wallet, authorities said. Read more: [1010WINS]

 

Off-duty police officer rear-ends car, hurts driver in Queens DWI wreck

An off-duty veteran cop was collared Tuesday for taking off after rear-ending another car in Queens while he was drunk, police said. Ankur Joshi, 35, crashed his vehicle at Steinway St. and 25th Ave. in Astoria around 5:25 a.m., just five blocks from the 114th Precinct stationhouse where he works, police sources said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Tech thieves targeting iPhones on subway


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by David Beltran

Residents of Astoria refuse to be frightened by fleeing thieves aiming to filch their phones.

Police say nine iPhones have been stolen along the “N” and “R” train lines since late December, with the most recent incident occurring on February 8. Five of the thefts have occurred in Astoria – three at the 36th Avenue station and two at the neighboring stop on 39th Avenue. Young women were victims in eight of the nine cases, police said.

The NYPD currently has descriptions of three of the suspects involved in the thefts – all black males in their 20s, roughly 6 feet tall and approximately 200 pounds.

A number of residents admitted they were unaware of the trend in their neighborhood, but were not nervous about losing their phones to the bandits.

“I heard that was going on in the city and other places but not here,” said Leticia Huero, a 20-year-old iPhone owner who uses the 36th Avenue station daily. “I’m not really worried about it though – you just have to be careful. I’m not going to be any more vigilant because people should already be vigilant. I might use it a little less now while I’m on the train, but I’ll probably end up still using it after a while.”

Others view the crimes as inevitable, considering the volume of phones out in the open at any given time.

“Yeah, I can see how that happens. People are on their phones all the time and they don’t notice who’s around them,” said Mujammil Ali, 22, who visits the 36th Avenue station twice a day. “People just need to be more careful. They buy these expensive phones but they don’t watch out for thieves.”

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who represents Astoria and is the chair of the Public Safety Committee, says many of the incidents occur above ground, prior to the train leaving the stations – when thieves snatch a phone and dash out seconds before the doors close.

According to Vallone, the police have responded to the recent rash in iPhone thefts by increasing their subway presence and instituting sting operations designed to nab phone snatchers.

Officers of the 114th Precinct have advised riders to use their phones sparingly, and to hide them whenever they do.

“If you have electronic devices while you are in transit, try not to have them visible. Be aware of your surroundings,” said an officer of the 114th Precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit. “Unfortunately, when you are using an iPhone or iPod, you tend to pay attention to that instead of what’s going on around you, which increases the chances of you becoming a victim. Perpetrators prey on people who aren’t paying attention.”

Additional reporting by David Beltran

Courier Police Blotter


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Nargas Karimi

111th Precinct

Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Hollis Hills and Fresh Meadows

Last Precinct Council meeting of 2011

 The 111th Precinct held its last Council Meeting of the year, updating residents on crime stats and honoring December’s “Cop of the Month.”

“This year we’re down nine percent in crime. We’re down in every category, except for murder. We had two murders for the year,” said Commanding Officer Ronald D. Leyson.

Grand larceny was up 2.3 percent for a total of eight crimes for the year, noted Leyson.

“Thirty-two percent, not a small number, during the 28-day period for grand larcenies is due to property left in people’s vehicles and their property getting stolen. It’s frustrating because it’s a preventable crime,” said Leyson.

The 111th Precinct is also down in robberies. There were three robberies in the course of the 28-day period, as opposed to 10 last year, noted the Captain.

“We were struggling throughout most of the year with robberies and a lot had to with non-traditional robberies, where they came from other areas off the highway and did commercial robberies,” said Leyson.

Also during the meeting, Leyson and Precinct Council President Jack Fried honored Officer Jimmy Tropiano as “Cop of the Month” for completing numerous reports and analyzing complaints in the Crime Analysis Unit.

“He’s our computer guy. He has created databases that have helped with the day-to-day analysis of crimes,” said Leyson.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown also made an appearance and wished everyone a very happy holiday season.

                                                                                                        - BY NARGAS KARIMI

 

108th Precinct

Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside

See shooter

Police are on the lookout for a suspect involved in a Woodside shooting over the weekend.

Eladio Espejo, 26, became involved in an argument with the victim inside 47-16 Greenpoint Avenue at approximately 5:40 a.m. on Saturday, December 10, according to police. After the dispute, the suspect left. When the victim, a 32-year-old Hispanic man, left the establishment, Espejo shot him in the thigh and arm, police said. The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was treated and released.

The suspect is described as 5’ 9″ tall and weighs between 160 and 200 pounds.

Anyone with information in regards to this shooting is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

 

Police are on the lookout for Eladio Espejo, 26, in connection with a shooting.

 

Attempted robber sought

The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in locating and identifying the suspect wanted in connection with an attempted robbery.

On Monday, November 21, the victim, a 37-year-old woman, was approached from behind as she entered her apartment building in the vicinity of 65th Place and Woodside Avenue. She was thrown to the floor by the suspect, who then unsuccessfully tried to pull the victim’s purse off her shoulder before fleeing.

The suspect is described as a male, black or Hispanic, light complexion, 5’2″ to 5’3″, in his late teens to early 20’s, with black, shoulder-length hair.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

 

A skecth of the man police say tried to rob a woman of her purse.

 

Man snatched iPhone

Police are looking for a man who allegedly stole a woman’s iPhone as she rode the “E” train.

Cops say the incident happened on Tuesday, November 22 as the Queens-bound train was approaching the Queens Plaza subway station. There were no injuries sustained to the victim as a result of this incident.

The suspect is described as male, black, 17 to 20 years old.

If you have information in regards to this incident, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

 

This man stole a woman’s iPhone as she rode the subway.

 

 

109th Precinct

Downtown Flushing, East Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace

Help find missing woman

Police are looking for a woman who went missing on Wednesday, December 7.

Judy Nam, 28, of Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, was last seen leaving her residence wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers. She is 5’8″ tall and weighs 135 pounds.

Anyone with information as to her whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

 

Judy Nam, 28, of Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing is missing.

 

 

114th Precinct

Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside, and Jackson Heights

Cops seek robbers

The NYPD is asking for the public’s help in locating and identifying the three suspects wanted in connection with two robberies.

On Thursday, December 1, the suspects approached the victim, a 33-year-old woman, at 27th Street and Ditmars Boulevard, displayed a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash and her cell phone. There were no injuries and the suspects fled southbound on 27th Street.

That same day, the suspects approached a second victim, a 25-year-old man, at 24th Street and Ditmars Boulevard, again displayed a handgun and demanded his cash and cell phone. There were no injuries and the suspects fled southbound on 24th Street.

If you have any information in regards to these incidents, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

 

115th Precinct

East Elmhurst, North Corona and Jackson Heights

Man shot at cops, fled

A man who was acting suspiciously and shot at cops is being sought.

It was on Friday, December 2 when two uniformed officers were patrolling on foot in the vicinity of 76th Street and Roosevelt Avenue. They were alerted by a passerby of a male acting suspiciously at the corner of 37th Road and 76th Street. The officers walked to the location and observed the male wearing a black trench coat with a fake beard, a hat and dark glasses. When the officers approached the individual, they asked him for identification, at which time the man removed his hands from his pockets, pulled out a black revolver and fired twice at the officers before fleeing southbound on 77th Street.

The officers pursued the male but were unable to apprehend him. The fake beard, hat and glasses were recovered during the foot pursuit. No injuries were sustained by either of the officers.

The suspect is described as a man in his 30s, approximately 5’9″ tall with a thin build.

If you recognize him, police say to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

 

This photo, from video surveillance, shows the man police say shot at two cops.

Community tackles crime, rallies in Astoria


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Crime may never sleep, but the residents of Astoria are planning to put it to bed.

Following a wave of illegal activity that recently rolled through the neighborhood, members of the community and local elected officials united at an anti-crime rally on November 16.

A variety of crimes were discussed at the gathering, held at 21-77 31st Street, including numerous incidents of groping, the most recent of which occurred at Broadway and 31st Street; an attempted rape on 21st Street; the inappropriate touching of a young girl by an unidentified man in the Steinway Library; cases of car vandalism and robbery and three shootings.

“Astoria is one of the best neighborhoods in New York to raise a family, and we will not allow a few deplorable individuals – especially those who prey on women and children – to threaten that,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, who announced that she is introducing legislation to increase sentences for certain sex crimes and close legal loopholes that allow sex offenders to avoid facing serious penalties. “It’s important that we use every resource at our disposal, including passing tougher laws, to send a message that we will not tolerate these types of acts in our community and criminals will be held accountable.”

In an effort to promote cooperation within the community, Senator Michael Gianaris is introducing legislation that expands upon “Good Samaritan” laws, allowing local businesses and non-profits to act as safe havens to individuals in danger without being liable for damages or injuries they incur while doing so.

“We must do everything in our power to combat the recent uncharacteristic crime wave in our community,” Gianaris said. “Protecting small businesses that rush to aid someone in distress will increase the safe havens available to crime victims and make our streets safer.”

New crime-fighting initiatives and techniques were also announced during the rally, including the proposed reinitiating of community patrol groups.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who chairs the Public Safety Committee, hosted a meeting on November 17 to organize a neighborhood watch program – the first of its kind in over 25 years.

The councilmember, who was joined at the meeting by several Astoria anti-crime experts, announced that he will work with the 114th Precinct, the New York Anti-Crime Agency and the 114th Civilian Observation Patrol in creating the watch program. As part of the group, block captains will be established and the districts will be divided into sections.

“Make no mistake our police officers are doing a great job of preventing and fighting crime – but precincts are operating at half strength and need help – that’s where we come in,” said Vallone. “Our neighborhood watch will act as an additional deterrent and crime fighting tool.”

Some residents of Astoria, outraged and saddened by the illegal activity plaguing their neighborhood, appeared confident the community’s involvement would cease the crimes.

“I’m appalled at all of this crime that has taken place recently,” said John Pellitteri, an Astoria resident for 68 years. “This is our community, not the criminals’ community. We have to work hand in hand with the police and assist them in any way we can. We have to show these criminals that they are not welcome in Astoria and their crimes will not be tolerated. I’m glad elected officials are taking the steps necessary to help the people of Astoria, and to discourage anyone from coming into our community with thoughts of hurting people. I definitely feel better now with a community watch, and most of the people I’ve spoken to are happy we are getting started with it.”

114th Civilian Patrol gives back


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

The 114th Citizen Observation Patrol (Civ OP) works to improve the quality of life of the residents of northwest Queens.

In recognition of accomplishments over the past year, the patrol held its annual awards ceremony on October 26 at Riccardos’ by the Bridge Catering Hall in Astoria.

The Civ OP was joined at the ceremony by Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., NYPD Chief Diana Pizzuti, current 114th Precinct Inspector Stephen Cirabisi and former Inspectors Brian McCarthy and David Barrere.

Vallone, who is the chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, presented the award bearing his name to 114th Civ OP member Peter Cassulis for his efforts in erasing unwanted graffiti.

“As our police force dwindles, it’s more important than ever that our citizens become involved, and Peter Cassulis is leading the way,” said the councilmember.