For the first time since February, the 100th Precinct Community Council held its monthly meeting, and for the first time ever, the meeting went digital in the age of coronavirus where Zoom meetings are a norm. With plenty to catch up on, the meeting was chock full of information relating to crime and other policing issues within the confines of the 100th Precinct.
At least 30 people logged in to the virtual meeting, including community members, local leaders, officers from the 100th Precinct, Parks Department Rockaway Administrator Eric Peterson and others. 100th Precinct Community Council president Kathy Heavey kicked off the meeting with the pledge of allegiance.
Heavey welcomed back everyone after several months that included coronavirus shutdowns, the murder of George Floyd, which she called a “horrific act,” and the protests that followed. “I hope in all this we can all look within ourselves to determine how to be a catalyst for change. Our diversity should make us stronger so we can live as one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for everyone,” she said. She also made some announcements including the postponement of National Night Out Against Crime, which would have been held on August 4. She also announced some staff changes, including the promotion of longtime 100th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Danny Smyth, who is now the sergeant at the 114th Precinct. He has been replaced by Officer Claudio Diaz. Heavey also welcomed Captain Jeremy Kivlin as the new executive officer of the 100th Precinct.
She then introduced Captain Louron Hall, who provided updates on recent occurrences within the precinct. “Last week was a rough week,” he said, acknowledging the alleged chokehold arrest involving 100th Precinct Officer Afanador. Hall explained that Afanador was suspended and then arrested following the incident. Hall then went into local shooting incidents, including three shootings last week, with five victims. All were nonfatal. One arrest has been made in one incident. In another, during a barbecue around Carleton Manor, three individuals were shot, including a known gang member, so it is believed this was gang related. Hall explained that they’re having a hard time identifying the two suspects caught on video in this incident, as they were both wearing face masks. “We’re hoping with more video canvassing and cooperation from the community, it will aid in the apprehension of the two individuals,” Hall said.
Hall spoke of a slight uptick in crime this year, up to 215 crimes this year, compared to 209 at the same point last year. Last week, there were 15 crimes compared to seven during the same week last year. Over a 28-day period, crimes have increased by nine, from 38 last year to 47 this year for the same period. In this 28-day period, there was one homicide, stemming from a roommate altercation over the cleanliness of a room. A fight ensued and a victim was pushed to the ground, hitting his head, and leading to injuries that left him hospitalized. The victim later died, so the crime is now being treated as a homicide and an arrest was made.
There have been five robberies in the past 28 days. One involved two individuals who brandished a knife and firearm as they hit and stole a gold chain from a man on Beach 115th Street. The suspects were wearing masks, making them hard to identify. Arrests are close to being made in two of the five robberies.
The precinct has seen a 113% increase in felony assaults over the last 28 days, up to 17 this year from eight last year. The recent shootings fall into this, as well as three strangulations, two officers shot at in their vehicle on Beach 66th Street, in which a gang member was arrested, four individuals struck by a blunt object, and one struck by a vehicle. Of the 17, three were domestic violence related, six have resulted in arrests and eight remain under investigation.
Burglaries are up 200%, from four to 12 this year. This includes four commercial burglaries and six residential burglaries. Hall highlighted one example of repeat burglaries at 59-14 Beach Channel Drive, in which a male and female took items from the location. Arrests were made and the individuals were charged but released. “With bail reform, this is a nonviolent crime, so those individuals were out again and we subsequently took another burglary at the same spot. We think it’s the same individuals,” Hall said.
Hall touched upon some grand larceny incidents involving cars and property stolen on the beach. As far as the beach incidents go, property was stolen while individuals were in the water or on the boardwalk. Hall said it is difficult to solve these as there are no cameras on the beach. In regard to grand theft auto, there have been three recent incidents, in which two cars were recovered, One involved keys being left in the car, and another involved lost keys that were found and used to open the vehicle. Hall said that residents of the St. John’s Home for Boys have been largely responsible for auto theft, however he foresees this improving as a repeat offender was recently removed from the facility for an unrelated reason. “We think with his removal, we’re going to see a huge decrease in the theft of cars,” Hall said.
A new issue that has been impacting the city, but is now reaching the peninsula, is the theft of rims and tires from cars overnight. There have been three such occurences, including two, this week in which rims and tires were stolen from Honda vehicles near the Dayton Towers at 8600 and 8000 Shore Front Parkway. “These guys are so professional in what they do, it takes less than five minutes for them to take all four rims and tires,” Hall said. He believes this crime hasn’t been prevalent on the peninsula since cars used in these thefts can be captured on bridge cameras, but the cars often have stolen license plates, so it is difficult to trace the suspects. Hall recommends wheel locks and leaving cars in well-lit areas to act as a deterrent.
Hall touched upon the hot-button issue of increased fireworks. The 100th Precinct has seen a 1021% increase in firework-related 911 calls. This means 157 calls this year vs 14 last year, and this doesn’t include 311 complaints. Most of the calls are coming from Sector A (Beach 59th to 90th) and most occur on weekends. In response, Neighborhood Coordination Officers have been deployed to work with regular patrols during those peak days and times to help combat illegal firework use.
The forum was then open to questions and concerns. Some brought up the issue of speeding bicycles on the boardwalk. Another asked the captain if he thinks the increase in crime is related to bail reform, to which he said, “Yeah, absolutely.” The captain also presented questions to the members, asking for suggestions on how to better handle community policing in the wake of financial cuts to the NYPD and ongoing concerns.
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