2010-10-01 / Front Page

Petty Crimes Plague Arverne Property Owners

By Nicholas Briano
The Palmers Landing and Ocean Breeze communities in Arverne By The Sea are the closest homes to the Hammel Houses. In fact, the Ocean Breeze condominium is right across the street, and for the past two years, residents of both communities and Hammels have co-existed with minimal problems. At least until recently.

“I walk home and I am being pelted with rocks from Hammels,” a resident pleaded to police at the 100 Precinct Community Council meeting last week. “This is during the daytime too, not just at night.”

That Ocean Breeze resident, along with dozens of others who attended the monthly meeting of the 100 Precinct Community Council last week, complained to Deputy Inspector Tom Barrett that being pelted with rocks wasn’t the only problem.

Another resident stood up and said, “The possibility that I heard someone was held up at gunpoint is enough of a reason to get me to attend.”

According to many residents, men are scoping out their neighborhood, tugging on their car handles, and even looking through their front windows while they are home.

The residents say they are scared.

One woman who teaches bible study at Bethel AME Church on Beach 77 Street says they want to provide the religious services for the community but are concerned and at times frightened about the recent notion that crime is increasing through the Hammels and Arverne By The Sea areas.

Barrett, the commanding officer of the 100 Precinct, told the crowd that whenever they see something suspicious they must call 911.

“The hardest crime to solve is the one we are not aware of,” he said. ‘You all have to get on the phone and call us. We want to arrest these guys, but sometimes we need your help.”

And again he stressed, if you witness any suspicious activity pick up the phone and call 911.

Most residents showed up at the meeting on the basis of a letter that was sent out to every resident of the Palmers Landing community.

In the letter, Palmers Landing Homeowner’s Association president, Edwin Williams, (no relation to the Far Rockaway NAACP president, Edwin Williams) told residents that their presence at the Council meeting was the only real way to get the police to address the crime and listen to their concerns.

“There have been a growing number of criminal acts against the Arverne By The Sea community,” he told residents in the letter issued on September 17. “These have included car theft, repeated theft of personal property from automobiles and homes, slashing of tires and vandalism.”

Williams also feels they have become victims of persistent probing where groups of people and individuals have been seen systematically tugging on car door handles, checking garage doors, and even front doors, mainly on Aquatic Drive, a private street nestled inside Palmers Landing between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and the Freeway.

Williams says one report from a resident indicated that his front window was opened while he was sitting in his living room and others say they have seen their doorknobs being tugged at while sitting inside their homes.

Police promised to beef up patrols in the area and said they were concerned about the increase in criminal activity and would do everything in their power to address it.

Williams told The Wave this week that he believes the increase in petty crimes is happening across the precinct, not just in Arverne By The Sea.

“I think it is the area in general, and I love where I live, but there is a manpower problem with the police and as the community grows you’d think they’d get more manpower, but that hasn’t been the case.”

While understanding the manpower issues the 100 Precinct faces, Williams still feels there has to be a better presence in the community.

“We need to look out for one another and build better dialogue with the precinct in order for them to be able to help us.”

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