Tag Archives: Ozone Park

NYPD, Lion Cage Shredding holds free public document shredding event at Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The NYPD is working to make sure residents begin the New Year on the right and safe foot.

Together with Lion Cage Shredding, located at 120-10 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens and Macerich Properties, owner of Queens Center in Elmhurst, the NYPD’s Crime Prevention Section held a free document shredding public event in front of the mall on Sunday to make sure personal information does not get into the wrong hands.

“We want to help people stop becoming victims of [identity theft],” said Sergeant Raymond Morales, from the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau. “It’s important that [the documents] get destroyed properly. This is a first major step on helping prevent [identity theft].”

During the event, people were able to bring in documents with personal information, dump them into two large garbage bins and watch them be destroyed inside the Lion Cage Shredding truck.

“You have to be proactive in taking steps to protect yourself,” said Sergeant Morales.

Participants were also able to bring in their computer hard drives and watch them be destroyed, as a hole was punctured into the hard drive. People were also able to have their electronic devices registered with the NYPD Operations ID Program and sign up to receive a certificate from Lion Cage confirming the destruction of all personal information from Sunday’s event.

“I just think it’s great to do this for the community,” said Regina Pluchinotta, from Ozone Park, who brought in bags of documents to be shredded and watched as her hard drive was destroyed. “You try to be precautious and safe about it all.”

Elmhurst resident Fabian Alsultany brought in two folding shopping carts filled with documents dating back to 1999 which were taking up room in his house.

“This was a real godsend,” said Alsultany. “This just makes life a lot easier. It’s a great service for the city to offer.”

The NYPD and Lion Cage Shredding will be working together with private companies and property owners in the next 10 months to hold document shredding events throughout the five boroughs. The next stop will be in the Bronx, and later dates and locations are to be determined.

For more information on the document shredding events or any other NYPD events, visit the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau website or text “NYPD” to 22828. To find out more about Lion Cage Shredding, visit its official website or Facebook page.

 

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Teen hijacks car after helping stranger dig it out of snow


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

An act of kindness quickly turned violent Saturday when a Brooklyn teen robbed his peer at gunpoint after first helping his victim dig his car out of the snow, police said.

Genero Placenia, 18, offered to help a 19-year-old male push his buried 2001 Honda Civic out of the snow in Ozone Park about 3:30 p.m., police said.

But once the vehicle was free, Placenia asked for a ride, then allegedly pulled out a 9mm High Point gun and robbed the driver of his iPhone 5, $60 and car, cops said.

Police later found and chased the suspect until he was caught at 115 Logan Street. By then, Placenia had ditched his gun and shed most of his clothes, including his shoes, police said.

The victim’s car was also found abandoned, lodged in snow again, at Logan Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.

The suspect was taken to Jamaica Hospital for treatment, police said. He was charged with robbery, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a weapon and stolen property.

 

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

where

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken?

Guess by commenting below!

The answer will be revealed next Friday.

 

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: : Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park

Ozone Park Filipino man lives the American dream


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Ernesto Pamolarco grew up in poverty, with little food and no electricity, sleeping on the seashore of the Philippines. Now, he owns his Ozone Park home and provides for his wife and six children.

Early on, he learned that “life is so hard without education,” and put himself through the education system, eventually becoming an educator himself. Pamolarco, 47, went from a peddler in the Philippines to a special education teacher for the city, as well as chair of the nonprofit, Youth Success Global Foundation (YSGF).

When Pamolarco was 9 years old, he started to dream about leaving his native Leyte. His father was stabbed to death by their neighbor as Pamolarco hid under his home, and he realized he no longer wanted to live an impoverished life.

“I didn’t want to live in that environment,” he said. “I could see ships and airplanes from where we lived, and I thought, ‘One day I’ll be able to ride an airplane.’”

After graduating grammar school, the 13-year-old Pamolarco uprooted his life to the island of Manila. He worked several odd jobs, including selling plastic wrappers and washing dishes.

“I had my own way of surviving,” he said.

After a few years, Pamolarco returned to Leyte to attend high school, and eventually college where he earned a degree in English. He went on to teach English for the next 15 years in the Philippines.

“It was very interesting for me. I never dreamed of becoming a teacher,” he said. “In fact, I never dreamt of becoming a college graduate or high school graduate.”

In 2005, Pamolarco got the opportunity to come to the United States on visa. He once again took on odd jobs and put himself through the Touro College Graduate School of Education.

“I just follow the flow of life,” he said. “I never thought I would come to this point in my life. I really thought I would be there [in the Philippines] for the rest of my life.”

Pamolarco is the only of his six other siblings to “make it,” he said, and many are home in the destruction left by Typhoon Haiyan. He is organizing relief efforts through YSGF.

In particular, Pamolarco wants to help the students and hopes to donate school supplies.

He graduated from Touro College in May 2010, and his wife and children joined him stateside. He soon later landed in the teaching position he is in today.

“I still think there’s still more to achieve and accomplish,” he said. “The hardships I went through were just temporary. I work really hard, that’s the secret.”

 

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Cops looking for suspect who tried to rape Ozone Park woman at knifepoint


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man tried to rape a woman at knifepoint inside her Ozone Park apartment Friday morning, then cut his victim as she stopped his attack, police said.

The suspect gained entry inside the 27-year-old victim’s home around 10 a.m., placed a pocket knife to her neck and told the woman to take her clothes off, according to police. The victim complied and undressed, but then, in a struggle with the suspect, was able to wrestle away his knife.

He then pulled out a second pocketknife and cut the victim on her left wrist and right ring finger, police said. The suspect was able to take back the first pocket knife before fleeing the apartment in an unknown direction.

Police describe the suspect as a black man in his early 20′s, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180 pounds, with a dark complexion. He was wearing a black hoodie with white letters and blue long johns.

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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South Queens officer honored for arresting suspect in cop beating


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Just shy of one month after an off-duty cop was beaten nearly to death, Officer Vincent Siraco of the 106th Precinct was honored for nabbing his fellow cop’s attacker.

Sergeant Mohammed Dean took a brutal beating in Ozone Park on Nov. 17 that left him unconscious. As police pulled up to the scene on Liberty Avenue around 4:40 a.m., the perpetrator fled.

Siraco and his sergeant chased the beater down 118th Avenue and apprehended him “with no incident, no injuries to any police officers,” said John Ganley, the precinct’s executive officer.

Ganley called the arrest a “right place, right time” situation, and that at the time, they did not know it was a cop, they knew “it’s an individual getting beaten down into the street.”

Siraco and the precinct’s Midnight Conditions Team, which takes nighttime patrols, were in the area after discovering a robbery pattern around Liberty Avenue’s bars and nightclubs.

“The community is very fortunate to have an individual like this on patrol, especially at night,” Ganley said.

Siraco started at the 106th Precinct in June and has been with the NYPD for two and a half years. Ganley said he has an “impressive record for a short time on the job,” including 25 felony arrests.

“In a very short time, he has established himself as an integral part of our patrol force,” he said.

 

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City Council passes Ozone Park rezoning


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the office of Councilmember Eric Ulrich

The City Council passed a change in Ozone Park’s zoning map Tuesday to reflect the neighborhood’s building patterns.

Now, the zoning mandates will reinforce the area’s one- and-two-family residential homes and direct new residential and mixed-use developments to more commercial locations.

“The new zoning enacted into law today will protect Ozone Park from overdevelopment and help create a more livable neighborhood,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who was born and raised in Ozone Park.

“It will also spur new modest development, especially in the commercial districts, thereby creating jobs and increasing property values,” he continued.

The rezoning is bounded by Rockaway Boulevard, Atlantic Avenue and 101st Avenue to the north; the Van Wyck Expressway and Lefferts Boulevard to the east; the Belt Parkway to the south; and the Brooklyn borough line to the west.

This marks the second largest rezoning in Queens, changing the map for roughly 530 blocks in Ozone Park. The vote was prompted by concerns from Community Boards 9 and 10 as well as local civic organizations and elected officials.

“Out of character structures and overdevelopment has become far too common in our communities,” said Councilmember Ruben Wills. “That is why it was important that we undertook these aggressive measures to protect the integrity of our neighborhoods.”

 

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Wife, band remember musician killed in Howard Beach car crash


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo Facebook

Jim Sinisi’s wife said the world is “a dimmer place” now that her husband is not in it.

“He was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of person,” said Susan Sinisi of her husband, a musician in the band Wordy Bums.

Only two weeks shy of his 38th birthday, Jim was driving in Howard Beach on Saturday, November 30, just before 1 a.m., when James Celauro, 23, of Ozone Park, crashed into him on 159th Avenue and 98th Street.

Celauro, who cops say had been drinking, is charged with vehicular manslaughter and DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, police said.

Susan had gone to sleep for the night in their Glendale home and was awakened at 3:05 a.m. by a phone call from a nurse at Jamaica Hospital.

“They told me Jimmy had been in a fairly significant car crash,” she said. “It was like my temperature dropped, my insides turned toxic and I couldn’t stop shaking.”

Susan and her mother-in-law went to the hospital, holding hands all the way.

“And I’m praying. I don’t go to church too much, but I’m praying to God that Jimmy is just physically broken,” she said. “I would wait on him hand and foot and take care of him until he was mended. I felt like so much of who is he is, is his intellect and his soul and how he writes.”

Photo courtesy of Susan Sinisi

Jim was with friends in Lindenwood before the crash, his wife said.

“He was the essence of Queens,” said Rjae Izm, Wordy Bums drummer.

Susan said her husband, a native of Woodhaven, was a “crazy, poetic, fiery, beautiful artist.”

“He was just never, ever dull,” she said. “Always fun to be with, super creative and super into creating. He was brilliant.”

Now, Wordy Bums, for which Susan sings back-up, wants to take on the projects that their fallen bandmate left unfinished.

“Jim was the nucleus, the catalyst, the engine. The Wordy Bums can never be the same without such an integral part of this machine,” the band said in a Facebook post. “We are truly blessed to have shared the stage with him and witness true talent.”

 

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Green cabs could be coming to south Queens


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of TLC

Green cabs could now be driving down south in the borough.

A representative from the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) will be making a stop at the next Community Board (CB) 10 meeting on Thursday, December 5 to explain the new Boro Taxi procedures, rules, and the program’s presence in the region moving forward.

Betty Braton, CB 10 chair, said the outer-borough cabs coming to the community could either be a benefit or a disadvantage depending on “how it rolls out.”

“I would believe on the positive side, it provides a safer way in the outer boroughs for people to do street hails,” she said. “On the downside, we already have an existing problem with livery cabs parking. I would think it would become problematic if the green cabs decide to take up parking spaces or just cruise constantly in the transit hubs.”

Boro Taxis, similar to livery cabs, are affiliated with a base and may take dispatch, flat-fare calls. However, similar to city yellow cabs, they can also make metered, hailed pick-ups.

Currently licensed livery bases apply for an opportunity to affiliate the street-hail liveries, which is then processed and approved by the TLC. Two sites in South Ozone Park already got the green light for green cabs, according to the TLC.

Resident Jesus Garay made a request on the Boro Taxis’ website for a base at the cross section of Woodhaven Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard, so cabs could serve Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park.

 

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Woodhaven Boulevard safety still in flux


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The city’s five-year study on Woodhaven Boulevard safety improvements show some solutions worked better than others.

The thoroughfare, which connects Middle Village, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, among others, is one of the most trafficked in the borough and is prone to many accidents, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

DOT officials collected feedback from residents and community leaders on the results of the study at a meeting on November 21.

“They have been very cooperative. They have accepted feedback, and they are trying to do the best that they can,” said Community Board 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri Jr. “I think we need to concentrate on the areas that seem that they’ll never be resolved and come up with out-of-the box solutions.”

Within the last three years, the DOT has implemented some ideas to reduce accidents on Woodhaven Boulevard, like extending sidewalks and medians in the stretch from Queens Boulevard to 62nd Road, which gave pedestrians more space.

The DOT also made the southbound traffic on the service road at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Boulevard a “must turn right” lane in 2011. In 2012, they shrunk the two lanes of the service road into one because it was too narrow.

These solutions had varying results.

Woodhaven Boulevard from Queens Boulevard to 62nd Road had a total of 293 crashes from 2011 to 2012, up from an average of 254 accidents per year before the solutions were implemented, according to NYPD data.

However, accidents at Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Boulevard have decreased 29 percent to an average of 64 from 90 per year, according to the same data.

For future improvements, the DOT plans to change the service road on both sides on Woodhaven Boulevard between Atlantic Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard into one lane of traffic and one parking lane. Currently, from one parking lane and two narrow lanes for traffic.

The department is also planning to create a dedicated bus lane on the northbound side, from the Belt Parkway to Liberty Avenue.

Some people felt more could be done on Woodhaven Boulevard. Not everyone at the meeting believed the solutions were assured to reduce accidents.

“The solutions are, in my opinion, theoretical,” said Community board 9 Chair Jim Cocovillo. “On paper, they are designed to work, but you know as well as I do that many times they don’t.”

After analyzing feedback from the community, the DOT will begin preparing to make the improvements for next year and continue to monitor the troubled thoroughfare.

 

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Op-ed: Proposals for QueensWay project


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBER MIKE MILLER

I want to take a moment to address the QueensWay project, a proposed public greenway that will transform the Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach Branch, which was abandoned over 50 years ago. Specifically, the former railroad extends 3.5 miles from Rego Park and Forest Hills down to Ozone Park. This proposed project is one of great concern to many residents in certain areas of the rail line due to its potential negative impact on the local residents.

Certain sections of the proposed QueensWay, specifically the area of the rail line that runs parallel to 98th Street in Woodhaven, will be adjacent to the backyards of nearly 200 homeowners. Although I have been informed by the Friends of QueensWay that they plan to build the QueensWay completely gated around the entrances and make it inaccessible at night, local residents should not be the ones burdened with the cost of building a more secure fence around their backyards to ensure the privacy and safety of their home.

To find additional evidence of the resident’s safety concern, you do not have to look any further than several incidents that have occurred in and around the vicinity of Forest Park in recent years. I echo the sentiments of residents by asking how can we expect the local precincts to carry the additional responsibility of patrolling and responding to incidents on the proposed QueensWay when our precincts are already being spread too thin within our district as it is? Many of the residents on 98th Street are okay with the rail line being underutilized and prefer it stay that way. I also agree that the rail line from Park Lane South down to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of the local residents.

Further, as per the suggestion of the MTA in its 20-year plan, the rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard should be left as is and eventually be used as a connection for an express line connection into Manhattan.

After carefully balancing the potential positive impact of the QueensWay versus the potential negative impact on certain local residents, I recommend that:

1) The QueensWay be built only on the part of the rail line that stretches from Rego Park to Park Lane South

2) The rail line from Park Lane South to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of local residents; and

3) The rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard also be left untouched, so it can eventually be used by the MTA as an express line connection into Manhattan

In regards to maintenance of the QueensWay, it must be said that this proposed project should not at all be compared to The High Line public greenway in Manhattan. I remain unconvinced that The QueensWay when built from Rego Park to Park Lane South could achieve anywhere close to the level of corporate membership, sponsorship, and support the High Line in Manhattan has based solely on the lack of surrounding businesses in the area and the lower level of tourism that attracts the private funding necessary to maintain a public greenway. Without a consistent level of support and sponsorship from local businesses in addition to private funding, I fear that the QueensWay will eventually become an eyesore for local residents when funding for maintenance becomes an issue.

Additionally, I am interested to know whether Queens-based companies and local businesses will be the ones who are given the contracts to build out this proposed project. I believe that if the QueensWay is going to be built for the benefit of Queens residents and if it will positively impact Queens’ local businesses, then why are there currently no Queens-based companies being sought for the contracts even in the early stages of this project? I can only see a positive impact on the economy of Queens if our own borough’s businesses benefit from building the QueensWay.

Michael G. Miller represents the 38th Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale. He was elected in September of 2009 in the Special Election called by Governor David Paterson.

 

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Aqueduct Racetrack hosting street art show ‘Murals’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The grandstand walls at Aqueduct Racetrack will serve as canvasses for 11 contemporary urban artists who will transform the first floor of New York City’s only racetrack into a horse racing-themed street art show entitled “Aqueduct Murals,” opening to the public on Saturday, November 23.

“New York City is arguably the Mecca of street art and “Aqueduct Murals” integrates horse racing with a celebration of this vibrant, artistic community,” said Paul Kelleher of The New York Racing Association, Inc.’s (NYRA) Corporate Development department. “Aqueduct is New York City’s racetrack and this exhibit will be emblematic of the track’s wonderful, multi-faceted environment.”

The artists – from as far away as South Africa and as near as Brooklyn – will descend upon the racetrack for three nights prior to the show’s opening to pair the Big A’s walls with their unique visions of the “Sport of Kings.”

“Part of the beauty of street art is its impermanence,” said artist Joe Iurato, also the show’s curator. “A piece might last an hour or a few years, but every artist accepts that it won’t last forever. An exhibition like this, where works of this scale are housed indoors, isn’t something you see happen very often. In a sense, it preserves a small piece of New York culture that is otherwise constantly fleeting.”

One of the five local artists featured is 41-year-old Chris Stain, who teaches art at P.S. 49 in Middle Village.

“When I was approached to do the show, it immediately reminded me of my grandfather,” he said. “I always heard him talk about the track and the horses, so there’s some sentimental value there for me and it’s a way to explore that more. What sets street art apart from other forms is there are no rules to it. With other forms of art you have to follow a certain structure. With street art you can freestyle and there aren’t any limitations.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. daily, beginning November 23 at Aqueduct Racetrack, 110-00 Rockaway Boulevard, Ozone Park. For more information, call 718-641-4700 or go to www.aqueductmurals.com.

 

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Board derails QueensWay funding


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association

Community Board 9 has taken QueensWay funding out of its budget.

At its November meeting, the board voted 30-13 and concluded that its capital budget should not prioritize the proposal, which would convert a 3.5-mile former Rockaway Beach LIRR line into a public greenway.

Late last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo awarded $467,000 to study the project’s potential, and an additional $600,000 was raised through private donations.

The nonprofit Trust for Public Land has put together a team that will conduct the study.

“If the feasibility of a project can’t be figured out when it already has nearly a half million dollars to figure it out, then there’s a problem,” said Alexander Blenkinsopp, CB 9 and Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) member.

The QueensWay, if built, would connect Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park to Forest Park, provide pedestrian and bike paths, as well as public green space and serve as an art and culture forum.

Marc Matsil, the New York State Director for Trust for Public Land, said CB 9 was right to have taken the QueensWay out of its priorities because “the funds were raised.”

The proposal, however, has met a varying amount of both opposition and support.

Many area residents believe instead of a new park, the rail line should be reactivated to provide more public transportation. Others say the safety of current parks, such as nearby Forest Park, should be assured before a new greenspace is created.

The WRBA decided not to support either the QueensWay or a train reactivation because there were “some important questions that couldn’t be answered adequately,” Blenkinsopp said, mentioning safety.

CB 9 has not yet replaced QueensWay with any other item on its budget priorities.

“We know there will be critics,” Matsil said. “Our goal is to work with everyone.”

Matsil said, however, there is an “immense amount of enthusiasm in the community” for the potential new park and that though the safety concerns are “fairly clear,” he is confident residents feel there is a “need for a project like QueensWay.”

 

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Ozone Park man allegedly stabs wife to death over cheating


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

STABBING 2

Updated, Saturday, November 16

A knife-wielding Ozone Park man allegedly stabbed his wife to death after catching her cheating, friends and neighbors said.

Police broke down a locked bedroom door in an 80th Street home at about 3 a.m. Friday morning and found Josefa Sanchez, 41, unconscious and unresponsive.

She was rushed to Jamaica Hospital and pronounced dead, authorities said.

Her husband, Adalberto Sanchez, 50, had caught her being unfaithful after some investigation, according to Marino Garcia, the man’s best friend of about 16 years.

Garcia said Sanchez, who has three children with the victim, put a tape recorder under the seat of the couple’s shared car and obtained recordings of his wife allegedly having relations with another man.

“He told me yesterday. He was really bad. I told him to leave her,” Garcia said.

Sanchez said he wanted one last recording to find out exactly who his wife’s partner was, and then he would take his child and leave.

“I told him to come with me,” Garcia said. “I never thought he would do this. I know everything about him. He’s like my big brother.”

But the alleged killer, who is a cab driver, followed his wife out of the house late Thursday night, said neighbor Betsy Guerra. When they returned about 2 a.m. Friday, an argument erupted, and he said he saw her with somebody else.

The couple worked at the same transportation company, she as a bus driver and he as a taxi driver, Garcia and neighbors said.

After he allegedly killed his wife, Sanchez stabbed himself in the stomach and waited at the kitchen table for authorities to arrive, police said, and was then brought to Jamaica Hospital.

Sanchez is charged with murder, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a weapon.

 

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106th Precinct gets backup


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office Of Councilmember Eric Ulrich

Backup is here, as the 106th Precinct added 16 new cops recently.

“They are a most welcomed addition to the community and we are very happy to have them,” said Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, the precinct’s Commanding Officer.

The precinct, which encompasses Ozone Park, Lindenwood and Howard Beach, has experienced an increase in car thefts and break-ins, which are up more than 65 percent from last year, according to the most recent NYPD crime statistics. Crime overall is up 20 percent.

However, the experienced new officers are ready to hit the ground running. Schiff said during their precinct orientation. They will be addressed by various community members and hear firsthand what concerns they have.

“We expect that they will quickly absorb the local flavor and perform admirably, making all of us proud,” he said.

The community and local elected officials have voiced both a need and a desire for more resources for the precinct. The NYPD team has struggled with limited resources and increasing concerns from residents, said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, who assisted in the push.

“More officers and a stronger police presence are necessary to combat rising crime statistics,” Goldfeder said. “More visibility on our streets will keep the community safe and strong.”

Additionally, Councilmember Eric Ulrich paid a visit to the new crew and is “so pleased that we are finally getting additional officers that we have been fighting for for so long,” he said.

“They will to a long way in keeping our community safe,” he added.

 

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