Police Captains, Chief Attend Community Board 14
Queens Borough South Commander, Assistant Chief Thomas Dale, 100 Precinct Deputy Inspector Tom Barrett and 101 Precinct Deputy Inspector Brian McMahon were all at this week's monthly Community Board 14 meeting to field questions and address concerns about crime and violence across the peninsula.
Dale told the board and attendees to the meeting that it's gangs and drugs that are at the forefront of the peninsula's violence. Although he admitted more cops would certainly help, it is never used as an excuse.
"Manpower is no excuse," Dale said. "We will do whatever we have to do to keep the community safe with the resources we have."
Dale and Queens Borough South oversee police activity in the 100 and 101 Precincts, as well as the 102, 103, 105, 106, 107 and 113 Precincts, all in the southern part of Queens.
Last month, Dale and captains of both Precincts were asked by the community board to come speak in regard to gang and drug related problems in sections of Rockaway Beach near Beach 90 Street and Holland Avenue. However, police presence in that area has since then increased, leaving residents like John Donnelly feeling appreciative.
"In the last few weeks there has been an increase in police presence," Donnelly said. "We are grateful for the response we have been getting."
But retired police officer Glenn DiResto pleaded with Barrett, McMahon and Dale to find a way to fund surveillance cameras along Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 90 Street to Beach 84 Street near the Hammel Houses, which has seen an increase in street violence. Just last week someone was shot twice in the chest for a bicycle near Beach 87 Street.
"The cameras are a deterrent," DiResto said. "The cameras work. They not only prevent crime but could help apprehend someone who has committed a crime."
Funding for surveillance cameras was recently secured by Councilmember James Sanders, Jr., but will be placed inside the Hammel Houses complex and not along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, where DiResto feels they are needed as well. The wireless network of Argus Cameras provides a boost to precincts that are already suffering from depleted manpower as a result of the city's economic shortcomings. It is believed that crime is deterred around the network of visible cameras that typically are hung on light posts. Select areas of Far Rockaway around the Redfern Houses within the 101 Precinct already have the surveillance cameras installed.
In closing, Dale said he also looks forward to the possibility of another gun buy-back program in conjunction with the Queens District Attorney's office.
"Queens has more guns on the street than any other borough," he said. "The gun buy-back really works and helps us get hundreds of guns off the streets within hours."
This year's program, held in February, yielded 919 guns in one day, a record for the program. Anyone who anonymously surrendered a working firearm received a $200 gift card by bringing it to one of four church locations throughout Rockaway and other areas of Queens.