DID YOU ENJOY THE MILD WINTER WEATHER?
Well, so did a number of muggers, burglars and other low-lifes who caused an increase in the crime rate in the 104th Precinct, as well as throughout Queens and the other boroughs. This increase has kept our precinct busy but not overwhelmed.
You can help reduce this surge. If you see one or more persons you believe to be behaving suspiciously, phone 911 without delay. Provide all the details that you remember: height, age, clothing, race, how many persons and where you observed them. Tell the operator what behavior made you suspicious. Describe any vehicles and direction of travel that you observed.
You might be wrong. But, if you don't phone 911, you might be wrong about that decision. Allow the police to arrive and investigate. If the police find no cause for an arrest, the person will go free after a very few moments of inconvenience. If the person is actually up to something but the police are restricted from making any arrest, the encounter with the police will be a message that this neighborhood is alert. That's good for you and your neighbors, and you will have helped the police reduce crime. You will remain anonymous if you wish.
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT ABANDONED VEHICLES LEFT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
A vehicle is clearly abandoned if it has no registration plates and no windshield stickers. Write down any description you can: make, model, year, color and location. The vehicle probably stays in one spot, so write the address nearest to where it is parked. If possible, photograph the vehicle.
With this information, phone 311 (this is not an emergency!) and supply all the information you collected. Another way to inform the police of this vehicle is to attend a COP104 meeting and provide the information to a precinct officer in person.
You can report other vehicles that seem to remain forever. Wrecked autos, vehicles crusted over with filth because of never moving from their spot. Even though the vehicle has tags, it shouldn't remain in a spot for multiple months on end. Sometimes these are stolen autos that have been dumped in your neighborhood. Vehicles such as these are taking your parking spots. With all the large, residential buildings being built and occupied throughout the community, the available curbside parking spots will soon disappear. So, we need to make the vehicles without tags, or those parked for months on end, disappear. If only to preserve your parking spot near your home, you should support the JPCA effort at downzoning this community.
IS THERE A WAY TO IDENTIFY THE PREDATORS IN OUR COMMUNITY?
Yes! At the most recent COP104 meeting on Wednesday, February 15th, Gabe Tapalaga, a former prosecutor, and currently a private attorney and parent of young children, presented information on how we can access a list of sexual predators.
If you have a PC with Internet access, go to: http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nsor/search_index.htm. This is the official New York State Sex Offender Registry. To use this facility, you must read and sign the brief disclaimer in which you promise to use the information obtained legally and not for the harassment of any individual offenders identified. Once signed, you may conduct a search. Most people search by Zip code. A list of level 3 offenders is then presented. Select a name from the list, and the name, address, offense history, employer and photo are presented to you.
You have no access to the Internet? You may phone 1-800-262-3257 to determine if a particular individual is on the registry. To obtain information, you must supply an exact address, full date of birth and a driver's license number or SSN. You are not likely to have this, so it's better to visit a friend with Internet access.
Middle Villager and Juniper Juniors Mom from the start, Erica Dengate, sent an e-mail notifying folks of another Internet web site to help locate and identify sexual predators in a community. Go to: http://www12.familywatchdog.us/. This web site is supported by John Walsh of America's Most Wanted TV show. You may remember that John lost his son Adam to a predator many years ago. It was mainly that loss that caused him to start the program, which has been responsible for the capture of over 800 violent criminals. Another person supporting this Web site is Julie Clark, creator of The Safe Side and founder of The Baby Einstein Company. The Safe Side is a supporter of Family Watchdog and The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children.
Try both these sites so you can be armed with information to protect your family.
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT TRUCKS PARKED OVERNIGHT OR TRAVELING ON OUR RESIDENTIAL STREETS?
Once again, help the police.
Many trucks traveling on residential streets not designed for such vehicles are causing damage to trees, street signs, storm drains, or smaller vehicles. Drivers of large trucks have no or very poor visibility at intersections where there may well be youngsters or elderly who are not prepared for a large truck trying to make a turn.
Residential areas are not the legal locations for overnight parking for trucks. Their size alone takes up as many as five spots for autos. Running the engine for extended periods is illegal for the very reason of the noise and air pollution produced.
The police cannot be everywhere. They need our eyes and ears. Report violations to the police. Phone 311 for non-emergency or 911 for emergencies to notify the police of trucking violations. Don't wait for damage or injury.
Attend the monthly COP104 meetings to meet the police officials from the 104th Precinct. These meetings are an excellent opportunity for you to get useful information about police matters in our community. You can also provide very useful information to the police about conditions in your neighborhood that you believe need to be handled. You can provide this information privately if you prefer. Save time and have your information written with all required details.
You may well be surprised at how productive it is to tell the police directly of your concerns.
HOW CAN I CONTACT CAPTAIN SHANLEY?
If you would like to talk to Captain Shanley about any police matter or concerns you have in your neighborhood, feel free to attend a monthly COP104 meeting, held on the third Wednesday of each month at locations throughout the precinct. Look for posters announcing the next meeting and its location. These meetings are useful to learn more about your community, and for you and your neighbors to inform the Captain of incidents and problems in your neighborhood.
Alternatively, you can e-mail the Captain at email@example.com. For USPS Mail, write the Captain at: 64-02 Catalpa Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385-5257.
Are you interested in participating in civilian patrol of the community, phone GCOP/104COP at 718-497-1500.
Do you have questions or comments for Captain Shanley that you want published in the next issue of this column? Just e-mail: POLICEBEAT104@AOL.COM or write this column at: Police Beat 104, C/O Juniper Park Civic Assoc., P.O. Box 790275, Middle Village, NY 11379. We will keep your identity private if you request. If you request, we will forward your question of comment to Captain Shanley and publish his reply in the next issue.