Tag Archives: southeast Queens

Richmond Hill Block Association gives residents a fighting chance against attack

| mchan@queenscourier.com


Richmond Hill residents now have a fighting chance against sexual predators who have been terrorizing women in southeast Queens.
In light of the recent patterns of sexual attacks in the surrounding areas, Sensei Ricky Singh of Dojo Warriors equipped a little more than a dozen women and men with vital keys to self-defense at the Richmond Hill Block Association’s monthly meeting on October 26.
Of the countless sexual attacks in Queens, a 44-year-old female was assaulted on September 22 while she entered her home in Queens Village. On October 13, a 20-year-old woman was also raped in the vicinity of 108th Drive and Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, and more recently, two female victims in Laurelton were sexually assaulted, suffering a myriad of injuries afterward.

Association board members said they wanted residents to be prepared and cautious even though the recent attacks did not occur in Richmond Hill.
Singh — who has practiced martial arts for 13 years — taught residents how to stand up for themselves in quick and effective ways.
First, he said to aim for the attacker’s throat, ears and eyes.

Singh said to try and poke the attacker in the eyes — which he said would give victims at least 15 to 20 seconds to run — or to take the middle and pointer fingers and quickly jab them into the attacker’s throat. He also recommended cupping both hands and then clapping both the attacker’s ears at the same time to throw the perp off balance.
“That would actually make somebody back off. They’ll be more concerned about breathing and getting back their balance than attacking you. Their anger isn’t focused on you anymore, it’s focused on their survival,” he said.

But Singh said to avoid attacking the perp’s groin area, adding that it would do more harm than good — despite popular belief.
“It’s a very dangerous area. It actually gets guys really aggravated, and it makes them angrier,” he said. “It stimulates the body to produce more endorphins, which makes them stronger. You don’t want to go for the groin.”

Instead, Singh said to scream loudly to alert people nearby and to get energy levels up.

“Getting your heart rate up will increase your endorphins, and it will make you full of energy and make you feel stronger,” he said, adding that screaming will also make the attacker nervous and no longer feel in control.

If grabbed from behind and caught in a tight hold, Singh said to find the attacker’s pinky finger and pull it back as far as possible, causing the attacker to release his grip from the pain.

Singh also said keys could be used as valuable weapons if the fine points are grinded against the attacker’s knuckles or if used as a type of knife.

Police arrest 15 year old for sex assaults

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


Police believe they have seized the sexual deviant that has terrorized southeast Queens for the past month – and he is not even out of high school.

The NYPD arrested a 15-year-old black male on October 23 who they consider to be responsible for the recent pattern of sexual attacks in the area.

“We’re confident that he is the person we’ve been looking for,” said Chief James Secreto, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South.

The Queens Special Victims Unit identified the perpetrator in a surveillance video they received from a store, during which the teenager was recognized wearing his distinct Polo jacket with a tiger on the back.

The suspect, who is a resident of Springfield Gardens, has already been identified by two victims whom he allegedly assaulted earlier this month in Laurelton.

The first incident occurred at approximately 1:18 a.m. on October 9, when the pervert approached a 40-year-old female, pushed her to the ground, repeatedly punched her in the face and attempted to rape her. The victim suffered a myriad of injuries, including severe bruising to her eyes, lacerations to the inside of her mouth, a nasal fracture requiring surgery, a laceration to her cheek requiring stitches, severe abrasions to both of her knees requiring debridement and contusions and swelling to the rear of her head.

According to the charges, the suspect also attacked a 24-year-old female on the evening of October 16, approaching her from behind and placing her in a headlock before repeatedly striking her in the back of the head and face. The victim reportedly suffered a lacerated lip, lacerations to the inside of her mouth, bruising, swelling and pain to her face and bruising and contusions to the rear of her head.

“The defendant is accused of prowling the streets and preying on vulnerable women,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “The offenses that the defendant is accused of committing are crimes of violence that posed a serious threat to public safety and which warrant vigorous prosecution.”

The perpetrator has been charged with two counts of attempted rape, one count of attempted sexual abuse, one count of sexual abuse, two counts of sexually motivated assault, one count of assault with intent to cause physical injury and one count of sexually motivated assault with a weapon.

He was arraigned on October 24, and his bail was set at $150,000. The suspect’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 28.

Due to his age, the teenager faces two and two-thirds to eight years in prison if convicted as a juvenile offender.

The suspect is also being placed in numerous other lineups to investigate his connection to the string of incidents in the area.

There have been five sexual attacks in southeast Queens this month, the first occurring on September 22, when a 44-year-old female was sexually assaulted while she entered her home in Queens Village. Three of the five incidents were against women getting off the Q85 bus at 225th Street.

On October 13, a 20-year-old woman was raped in the vicinity of 108th Drive and Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica. The suspect has been described as a black male between the ages of 20 and 23, approximately 180 pounds, sporting a Caesar-style haircut, a black bandana, a black, waist-length, leather jacket and dark jeans.

The attacks have caused widespread public outrage and fear, and community leaders are emphasizing the importance of remaining safe by being aware.

“It is starting to get darker earlier and it is important that people know how to keep safe when walking home,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. “There have been five reported sexual assault cases this month alone, and we want to put a stop to this rising trend.”

A town hall meeting addressing the incidents was held on October 24 at the Robert Johnson Family Life Center in Jamaica.

During the meeting, NYPD Community Affairs and Special Victims Units of the 103rd, 105th and 113th Precincts answered questions and informed residents of safety awareness techniques.

Officials also referenced the closure of the Baisley Park Houses Community Center in Jamaica, which left kids with one less place to congregate safely.

“We need to respond as a community to try to take our children back,” said Comrie. “We can’t rely on our government.”

John Chiam of Crime Prevention urged people not to openly display cell phones or any technological devices while walking home and emphasized the importance of community involvement in assisting the police.

Dennis Chambers, the owner of Zen Masters Dojo on Linden Boulevard, led a group of children and women in a demonstration of self defense, and Safe Horizons, a victim assistance agency, provided people with whistles.

Additional reporting by Alexa Altman.

Southeast Queens residents deal with flooding, sewage

| mchan@queenscourier.com


Thousands of residents in southeast Queens are sinking deeper into the sewage that now engulfs their homes.

Mold spores and flooding have become and remain a constant problem for homeowners after the city took over the area’s water supply in 1996.

“It smells terrible. You see feces in the water and black stuff. It’s just terrible,” said Lurline Williams, 73, of Jamaica.

Williams said she uses five pumps a day to try and alleviate the flooding, but “the water never goes away,” she said.

Prior to 1996, the southeast Queens community received water from the Jamaica Water Supply Company, according to Assemblymember William Scarborough. The private company pumped, purified and distributed water from 68 wells.

When the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) took over, it stopped draining and pumping water out of the ground, making the water level rise higher than certain basements in the area, he said.

“These are people’s homes that are being ruined,” Scarborough said. “They’re spending a lot of money year after year for water pumps and they still can’t make their basements fully dry. Their floors and furniture in their basement are ruined. Some of them can’t even go into their basements anymore.”

Williams, a homeowner in Jamaica for 43 years, said that despite extreme damages, she still has to go down to her basement frequently to use her washer and dryer.

“I feel terrible. It’s heart breaking,” she said. “I just pray to God that something or someone will step up and go on and help us with the problem we’ve been having.”

The DEP has invested nearly $242 million since 2002 to build out the storm sewer system and reduce surface flooding in the southeast Queens area, said spokesperson Farrell Sklerov. The department also plans to invest $124 million in sewers over the next five years to help reduce further flooding.

Aside from that, the DEP has no plans to permanently pump out the groundwater due to a “prohibitively costly and extremely energy intensive process that would have to be paid for by increased water rates.”

City Councilmember Leroy Comrie told The Courier that the issue needs to be addressed immediately.

“I’m not happy that the DEP has not really dealt with the issue. It came up in meetings that they’ve kind of given up on a groundwater solution,” he said. “They don’t want to answer any questions or deal with it. It’s creating a major problem for the community.”

Scarborough also expressed concerns for the health of the residents.

“People are working hard to keep these properties nice and — to no fault of their own — their property is being damaged and their health is being threatened because of constant exposure,” he said. “That is unacceptable. People are suffering.”