Tag Archives: Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly

Former Queens ‘Cop of the Year’ arrested on drug trafficking charges


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Broward County Sheriff’s Office

Two years ago he was “Cop of the Year,” but on Monday he was busted in Florida on cocaine trafficking charges, according to police.

Philip LeRoy, who received the prestigious award in 2012 by former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly for his work in the 114th Precinct, was arrested in Florida for attempting to buy 10 kilos of cocaine, published reports said.

According to the New York Post, LeRoy was still working in the Queens precinct, but since the arrest he has been suspended.

The 28-year-old has been charged with felony weapon possession, trafficking cocaine, and conspiring to traffic the drug, according to records from the Broward County Clerk’s Office.

LeRoy is currently awaiting trial in Florida, and his bail is set at $250,000.

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Five Queens men charged in alleged luxury car theft ring


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A luxury automobile theft ring responsible for allegedly stealing 48 high-end vehicles, valued at close to $2.4 million has been shut down,  District Attorney Richard Brown announced Wednesday.

As a result of the investigation, 18 people have been charged, including five people from Queens, said Brown.

Those charged are accused of stealing the cars from Queens County and around the tri-state area. The vehicles included Bentley Continental GTC Convertible, Mercedes Benz s550 4matic, as well as Audis, BMWs Range Rovers, Jeep Grand Cherokees and a Porsche Panamera. They allegedly stole,  “tagged” the cars, then used “brokers” to sell them.

“The defendants charged in this case, dubbed ‘Operation Title Wave,’ brazenly shopped for high-end luxury vehicles as orders from their criminal cohorts were placed – plucking the automobiles right out of dealerships,” said Brown.

The defendants have been charged with enterprise corruption,  grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, conspiracy, illegal possession of a vehicle identification number, forgery of a vehicle identification number and forgery. If convicted, those charged with enterprise corruption face up to 25 years in prison. The other defendants face maximum sentences of between seven and 15 years in prison.

“The ring of thieves arrested in this case treated driveways, dealerships, parking lots and other locations like their personal showrooms, used GPS to track luxury vehicles and then burglarized businesses and unlocked vehicles for keys to drive their selections away,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “Some are alleged to have additionally dealt narcotics.”

In addition to the auto crime charges, it was alleged that one of the defendants, Albert Natanov from Flushing, also operated a narcotics trafficking ring with two other individuals – Raymond O’Connell and Anthony Carrington – from which more than 20 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $1 million were recovered.

In the narcotics case, the three defendants have been charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance, attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy, criminal sale of marijuana and possession of marijuana.

The defendants were arraigned earlier this week in Queens Supreme Court and ordered to return to court on January 15.

 

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NYC debuts interactive crime data map


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via http://maps.nyc.gov/crime

The public will now be able to access crime data for neighborhoods around the five boroughs.

The city debuted an interactive crime map Sunday that will allow the public to search and access data on felony crimes based on location.

“With unprecedented population levels, New York City is safer than ever, with homicides on pace this year to fall below recent historic lows,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “This administration has relied on data to drive its crime fighting, and this map helps enhance New Yorkers’ and researchers’ understanding of where felony and violent crime persists.”

The map is accessible through the NYPD website and also here.

The map, built by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) using Google products with crime complainant data reported to the NYPD, provides felony crime information for the prior calendar year, current year and by month within the current year.

“DoITT employs innovative technology to improve the accessibility of critical public information,” said Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul N. Merchant. “The interactive crime map builds on report data and presents it visually in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, keeping the public informed about what is going on in their community.”

The interactive map allows the public to search basic data on the seven major felony crimes as defined by the New York State Penal law (murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny of motor vehicle). The searches are based on address, zip code or police precinct. The map displays crimes at the nearest street intersection or area.

Filters for specific crime type display the results by year or month in one of three ways: precinct level, showing crime incidents per 1000 residents as a shaded map; graduated points which correspond to the number of crimes at a given location; or as a “heat map” that marks crimes in the selected area.

Crime statistics by each precinct have been available since 2003 on the NYPD’s website and are updated weekly.

 

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Queens officer Philip Banks named as NYPD’s new Chief of Department


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Queens officer has risen in the ranks of the NYPD, and has found himself at the very top.

Philip Banks of St. Albans was appointed as the Police Department’s new Chief of Department. The 26-year veteran and current Chief of Community Affairs was officially installed as the NYPD’s highest ranking uniformed officer at a promotion ceremony on Thursday, March 28 at police headquarters, following the retirement of former Chief Joseph Esposito.

“Banks has proven himself time and time again to be as outstanding a field commander, adept in managing police personnel and operations, as he has a consummate builder of community relations,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Kelly also noted that programs such as the New-Immigrant Outreach and Crime Prevention as well as School Safety and Juvenile Justice Divisions have flourished under Banks’ command. As Chief of Department, Banks will be responsible for all police operations.

Banks became a member of the NYPD in 1986, and began his career on patrol in the 81st Precinct. He rose in the ranks from sergeant all the way to assistant chief over the course of two decades, and has served in precincts in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In 2010, Banks was appointed Chief of Community Affairs. Before his appointment, he served as Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan North and also commanded the 79th, 81st and Central Park Precincts. He also served as Executive Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South and of the 73rd Precinct.

Before beginning his police career, Banks received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Lincoln University. He graduated in 2001 from the Police Management Institution at Columbia University, and also completed advanced management training as well as an executive leaders program in counterterrorism at the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

As a member of the NYPD, Banks is following in the footsteps of his father, who is a retired lieutenant. His positions included co-director of the Police Commissioner’s security detail, executive officer in the Bias Crime Unit and commanding officer of the Recruitment Section.

 

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NYC murders, shootings down in 2012


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

Murders and shootings fell dramatically in the city last year as other felonies in the five boroughs ticked slightly upward.
“The number of murders this year will be lower than any time in recorded city history,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“The fact that the safest big city in America is safer than ever is a testament to the hard work and determination of the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day — and it also reflects our commitment to doing everything possible to stop gun violence.”

In the five boroughs, there were 414 homicides and 1,353 shooting incidents, as of December 23, the most recent numbers available — both record lows since comparable statistics began being kept in 1963. The previous record low in murders was 471 in 2009.

Rape, robbery, assault and burglary saw slight upticks while grand larceny rose more than 9 percent.

When murders reached their all-time high in the city in 1990, nearly six New Yorkers were killed each day. Even with that number dropping to just over one per day, Bloomberg said one murder or shooting is one too many.

Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly credited police initiatives such as Operation Impact, which funneled resources to high-crime areas, for the decreases.

“We’re taking 8,000 weapons annually out of the hands of people we stop, 800 of them illegal handguns,” said Kelly. “We’re preventing crimes before someone is killed and before someone else has to go to prison for murder or other serious crimes.

Guns remained the leading cause of murder within the city; 57 percent (237) of killings were by guns last year.

In Queens, murders fell from 82 to 80 last year while shooting incidents jumped more than 6 percent.

Within the 112th Precinct, zero homicides were recorded while the 111th and 104th precincts each had one.

Murders in NYC (1990-2012):

  • 1990 – 2,262
  • 1995 - 1,181
  • 1998 -629
  • 2001 - 649
  • 2009 - 471
  • 2010 - 536
  • 2011 - 515
  • 2012 - 414*
* Number of murders through 12/23/2012

 

 

NYPD to double gang unit


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

The NYPD is announcing an initiative today that will double the size of its Gang Unit and focus on social media to combat gangs.

Dubbed Operation Crew Cut, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will discuss the program Tuesday in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in San Diego.

In a pre-released copy of the speech obtained by The Courier, the number of detectives assigned to the “street crew” units will increase from 150 to 300 over time, he said.

Instead of concentrating on bigger gangs, such as Bloods and Crips, Operation Crew Cut will focus on ones where loyalty is tied to a small geographical area.

Police are also changing how they track gang activity by going online, where crew members are using sites such as Facebook and YouTube to brag about crimes and intimidate rivals.

This is the first time the NYPD has a “coordinated, consistent approach” to combating gangs, said Kelly

Though, as Kelly points out in his speech, gangs are “responsible for no less than to 30 percent of shootings in New York City,” shootings are down by about one percent compared to this time last year and murders have been reduced by 18 percent.

“We’re hoping that by focusing more resources in a coordinated thoughtful way on these crews we’ll reduce violent crime in New York City even further,” he said.

 

 

Addabbo calls for more cops in 106th Precinct


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The pressure is on for NYPD officials to assign more officers to an area local leaders are saying is quickly becoming inundated with mass volumes of visitors.

Senator Joseph Addabbo sent Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly a letter on February 8, requesting a “significant increase” in additional officers for the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park — home to the newest city hotspot, Resorts World Casino.

While Addabbo said there is “never a magic number” in regards to how many officers are needed, he said major changes to the precinct coverage areas should be coupled with substantial increases in their resources.

“We are a different precinct than we have been in the past. Rationally, there is a dire need for an increase of police officers,” Addabbo said. “I don’t expect a quick answer, but I think everyone is on the same page. Nobody would want to see the neighborhoods around Resorts World become a bad area if they want the casino to flourish.”

According to Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10, the current number of officers the precinct has is not enough to properly service an area that now sees over 20,000 visitors per day and close to 100,000 on the weekend.

“That number of people adds to the load of the day-to-day work of police officers,” Braton said. “For the police department not to assign additional police officers to the 106th Precinct when we have that volume of people coming in, out and through our area is not acceptable.”

Addabbo said the fight to secure more resources for the precinct has been ongoing since even before the casino made its debut. Now, more than ever — especially with the proposed convention center at the same location — he said there is a “greater need for public security” in the area.

The senator also cited the “recent rise in crime in the area” as one of the reasons for his request, however NYPD officials did not comment regarding reported rumors of crime spikes near the Racino.

Though Stefan Friedman, spokesperson for Resorts World, declined to comment on these specific allegations, he said the facility has been “incredibly safe.”

“We just want to be preventive of any spikes in serious crimes,” Addabbo said. “We should always stay ahead of the curve.”

The NYPD did not comment as to whether the 106th Precinct will be getting additional officers.

‘Person of interest’ in custody for Molotov cocktail attacks


| smosco@queenscourier.com

DSC_0008w

A man is currently being held for questioning by authorities in connection with a string of five fire bombings, four in Queens and one on Long Island, being investigated as possible hate crimes.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Queens elected officials, gathered at one of the targets, the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center in Jamaica, to condemn the attacks.

“We currently have a person of interest in custody,” said Kelly at the press conference on Tuesday, January 3. Police linked the unnamed suspect’s vehicle to a bodega on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica where he was thrown out on December 27 after the owner suspected him of shoplifting. As he was pushed out of the store, the man allegedly threatened the owner with retaliation.

That bodega was later firebombed, along with four other targets, with a Molotov cocktail made from a glass Starbucks bottle – one of the items the man in question was suspected of shoplifting.

According to police, the incidents occurred between 8 and 10:15 p.m. on Sunday, January 1. No injuries were reported and damage to the mosque was minimal. On Monday, January 2, police released a sketch of the suspect and video showing the man hurling a flaming bottle at a home on 170th Street that doubles as a Hindu place of worship.

The other two targets were private homes, with one house sustaining heavy fire damage in the living room, though no injuries were reported. But according to Kelly, three young children were in the residence at the time of the attack – a fact which could very well up the charges.

After meeting with representatives of the mosque and elected officials, Bloomberg said that the city will not tolerate violence, whether it was a senseless act or a more targeted hate crime.

“In either case, one attack is too many,” he said. “We all know that we are in this together and discrimination against one is discrimination against many.”

Borough President Helen Marshall called it a “sad day” and said that she was extremely upset by the thought of attacks like these happening in a borough as diverse as Queens.

“This man must be punished by the fullest extent of the law,” she said. “To throw bombs without knowing who is inside – it’s just wrong, and it’s not Queens.”