101 Commander Addresses BB Gun Dangers; GPS System Thefts
Crime prevention, in particular the ease with which BB guns can be obtained by Rockaway youth, and the rise in thefts of GPS systems, were on the mind of the commanding officer of the 101 Precinct at this month's precinct community council meeting.
With the high rate of gun violence in Rockaway, and the fact that the officers of the 101 Precinct made five gun arrests in the week and a half leading up to the meeting, Captain Brian McMahon is concerned about BB guns now turning up on Rockaway's streets.
"We've been grabbing a lot of kids with BB guns. We grabbed a kid last night with a BB gun," said McMahon, at the January 17 meeting.
"These kids are walking around shooting out windows. They rob people. They feel stronger with it," he said.
"You can buy a BB gun at K-Mart, right down the road here," added McMahon, who said that in Nassau County a person has to be only 18 to purchase such an item.
Another source for BB guns is Wal- Mart in the Green Acres Mall. Officer George Torres, who is in charge of community affairs at the 101 Precinct, visited the store to check out the BB guns they sell.
"Officer Torres found they have six BB guns that look like firearms," McMahon told community residents.
"We all know there are no target ranges for BB guns in the city, so it is something we are going to talk with politicians about. Maybe change it."
McMahon is also worried that one of his officers might mistake a BB gun for the real thing.
"I don't need a young kid having a BB gun and a cop sees it, and we're going to have a tragedy," he said. "We're going to try to pressure K-Mart and Wal-Mart."
McMahon also reported that "The new item of theft from a car [is the GPS system]."
Unlike the days when it was the car radio, a car computer or an airbag that was the target of thieves, McMahon says the GPS system is a lot easier to steal.
"All they got to do is smash the window. They know it is there, and just yank it out," he explained. "They could sell it on Mott Avenue or somewhere for twenty, $25."
He warned that the devices, which cost about $400 or $500, should not be kept on the car's dashboard.
"We probably see two, three of these [thefts] a week," said McMahon. "We're asking people... to unplug it. Just take it down."
In other news at the 101, the Precinct has received 21 new officers from December's graduating class at the academy. These new officers will enable McMahon to increase the police presence around the housing complexes in Redfern and Edgemere, also along Mott Avenue and in the business corridor.