Lindenwood residents say crime rampant in neighborhood
by Stephen Geffon
Oct 19, 2010 | 570 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lindenwood resident Christina Gold and about 50 of her neighbors packed last week’s meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council to demand action by the police on what they perceive to be a crime wave in their community.

Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, said that, in fact, crime is down in Lindenwood. However, he said he was concerned about the residents’ perception that crime was up. He noted that 911 and 311 calls were down and arrests were up, adding that the precinct’s response time to crimes-in-progress calls was four minutes.

In a recent letter to a local newspaper, Gold wrote that young people come into Lindenwood from Brooklyn and harass individuals collecting bottles, trespass on her neighbor’s lawn, and push his car so the alarm would go off. She said a neighbor told her that he has had bricks thrown through his front window.

Gold wrote that one girl told her aunt “she was going to get a machete to take care of her.” Gold also said her 12-year old son is afraid to ride his bike off the block for fear that it will be stolen from him.

Greenwood Arms Co-op president Joan Cardino told community council members about a recent theft of a bicycle and motorcycle from the garage. She said the perpetrator was spotted a week later in the area and the police were called but did not respond. Cardino said she had a videotape of the perpetrator, which she would turn over to Courtesis.

Courtesis told Cardino that there are a number of things that can go wrong with 911, including the police being dispatched to the wrong location. He said he would look into the 911 call and tell Cardino exactly what happened.

In response to rumors that police had made multiple prostitution arrests in Lindenwood, Courtesis said that the rumors were incorrect; police had made no prostitution arrests in Lindenwood. Courtesis also said that about 80 percent of the major crime in the 106th Precinct occurs outside of Lindenwood and Howard Beach.

A lifelong Lindenwood resident said that crime is more blatant now than in the past. She said individuals smoke marijuana openly in the park in the presence of small children. “We want to know what we can do as residents," she said. "We just want it to stop, we want it to be safe, we want to be able to walk out our door.”

Eric Sanchez, a Lindenwood resident for 10 years, said safety was a main concern to the residents of the neighborhood. “We are being harassed, our properties are being littered, we are getting insulted, they’re picking fights with us and they’re trying to break into our houses,” he said. “We have to do something now. We have to know our neighbors.”

Courtesis said he would help the community residents but asked the community to help him with information, video surveillance tapes, etc.

Courtesis asked residents to be proactive. He told them to call 911 if they see anyone trying car door handles, and said anti-crime officers in plainclothes and unmarked vehicles would be dispatched to the location. If the individual is spotted opening a car and getting in he would then be arrested, Courtesis said.

The inspector urged residents to participate in the precinct’s free crime prevention programs such as C.A.T (Combat Auto Theft) for individuals who normally don’t drive their cars between 1 and 4 a.m., the H.E.A.T (Help End Auto Theft) Program for individuals over 40 years old, the Commuter-CAT Program for individuals who park their cars and take the train or bus to work between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and VIN Etching of vehicle windows.

The 106th Precinct Community Council meets on the second Wednesday of the month, except for August and February, at the precinct station house, 103-51 101st Street in Ozone Park.

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