Problems with the 104th Precinct? Blame Bloomberg's Manhattan-centric Philosophy - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the November 2009 Juniper Berry Magazine

Problems with the 104th Precinct? Blame Bloomberg's Manhattan-centric Philosophy

NYPD Highway patrolman sets up checkpoint on Woodhaven Blvd. eastbound exit ramp of LIE in November.

On Monday, November 9th, at Saint Margaret's Church, the Property Owners/Residents Middle Village Association hosted the monthly COP104 Meeting.

Some of the citizens' reports should interest all residents of the precinct.

BAD TIMES BREED BAD PEOPLE:

On Metropolitan Avenue near 74th Street, an elderly woman was approached by a stranger who asked her if the purse on the sidewalk belonged to her. The woman replied that it was not hers. Moments later, another stranger approached and asked her the same question. Again, she replied no.

The second man then picked up the purse, glanced into it for a fraction of a second, and declared to the woman that it looked like there was $300,000 in cash in the purse.

The first man joined in and told the woman that his lawyer was right nearby. Both men persuaded the woman to get into their car to drive nearby to the lawyer's office. She did, and they drove a very short distance to the law office. The client exited the car, and visited his lawyer. After a short time, the stranger returned to the car and declared that his lawyer advised that the trio could keep the money.

The woman wasn't buying; she said that she needed to speak to her son before proceeding. Since she lived nearby, they offered to drive her home. At home, she phoned her son, who quickly notified the police and then headed directly to his Mom's house.

The generous strangers were long gone. Sadly, now they had to split the $300,000 just between themselves, although they originally wanted to share $100,000 with a strange woman. Christmas spirit, perhaps?

Police arrived and took no report, telling Mother and son that this crime had no classification. There you go, Mayor Bloomberg. No need to include this event in the crime stats. It cannot be classified.

I'll bet you readers classified the episode as a con game. We will not know the particulars here because no report was taken, no description of the con artists, so no clear warning for others.

The good news is that this intended victim and her son were too honest to fall for the scam. Con men depend on greed in their victims. This mother-son team wasn't greedy. Happily they were not taken. Too bad Mayor Bloomberg doesn't want to spoil the crime statistics by protecting them and all of us.

ARE POLICE ALLOWED TO BE RUDE AND LET SUSPECTS GO?

A homeowner and his wife hear some noise in the middle of the night. Looking down to the yard, they spotted two men. They phoned 911. The police responded.

The man came outside to provide details to the officers who responded. The officer snarled to the homeowner, Be quiet! Get back to your house. Moments later the two men were released. No police report was taken. The patrol car drove away without ever speaking to the homeowners.

Once again, crime statistics are controlled. Let the Mayor look good. Is this lawful? Is this what we want?

CAN QUALITY-OF-LIFE COMPLAINTS BE

HANDLED WITHOUT LEAVING THE PRECINCT?

A resident attended the meeting and reported that he had documentation that, on at least ten occasions, he reported problems like blocked driveways, blocked hydrants, and the like. After checking the status of the complaint, he learned that the complaint was resolved with lines such as: upon arrival, no problem requiring attention was observed.

This is a common complaint, experienced numerous times by this writer as well as many residents who phone 311 to inform the police of a problem. The complaint is a great source of irritation, and the Commanding Officer has been informed of the problem.

This is a severe problem, although false claims by the police to have resolved problems refer to small problems we all have. But, they are problems, nevertheless. And, whether it is DOB faking its responses, or police faking theirs, lying on an official report is a crime.

In Woodside, a string of errors ended with the deaths of three people in an illegally converted apartment. The first cause of the deaths was committed by DOB, who falsified a report, claiming that there was no problem at the building. If DOB had simply performed its job, the three deaths would have been avoided.

Where is Mayor Bloomberg? Why is he failing to control city agencies under Mayoral control?

WHY DO CHILDREN HAVE MORE COMMUNICATION POWER THAN THE POLICE?

Two children with Blackberries have more modern communication power than our Police. Two and more youngsters can arrange their activities with each other (and their parents ‒ when permitted) with far greater sophistication than our officers.

This again is entirely the responsibility of Mayor Bloomberg. We pay huge amounts in taxes and yet know that the police are short staffed, short of proper, modern equipment and, most dangerously, have on some nights very few officers on patrol.

WHO CAN HELP MAKE THIS PROBLEM DISAPPEAR?

The newly re-elected Council Member Elizabeth Crowley must tackle this problem. Immediately. Since the 104th Precinct is also in the boundary of Council District 29, newly elected (reelected?) Karen Koslowitz should make the solution of this a high priority.

If Mayor Bloomberg can sit down with an unindicted Muslim terrorist to placate him regarding the killing of 13 at Fort Hood, he should be able to sit down with civic leaders who have never broken any law (except the law of apathy) and work relentlessly as volunteers to improve the community.

Citizens have every right ‒ we pay enough to have the right ‒ to be safe in our homes from all sorts of crime, from assault to cars blocking our use of our driveways.

One final comment; the individual officers do not join the police to do harm. Too many police are willing to walk or run towards danger to believe that. The commanding officers in the precincts would love nothing more than to honestly report that there were no crimes, or that all crimes were solved and all perpetrators have been captured, tried, convicted and are serving long sentences.

That will never happen. But, as long as we have a mayor who really has no interest in spending money so the police in the precinct can perform their jobs honestly, professionally and effectively, we will continue to be irritated at the police instead of the mayor and the elected officials whose job is to see that we all have proper police protection.