2011-10-28 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Crime continues to grow, not only in Rockaway, but in the entire city as well. Insiders say that there are two reasons for the increase in the crime statistics – the economic meltdown that left many without jobs and the declining numbers of police officers on the street. The CompStat numbers for the month ending on October 9 show that burglaries in the 100 Precinct have gone up 600 percent (to 14 during that month as against two at the same time last year. For the year ending the same date, burglaries have gone up 131.8 percent (to 102 from 44 during the same period last year). Burglaries have gone up in the 101 Precinct as well, 130 percent for the month ending October 9 and 2.8 percent for the year ending the same date. Burglaries are crimes against property in the sense that the criminals are seeking not to harm anybody, but to steal material they can then fence or sell on E-bay. In addition to the financial incentive to steal, there are 30 percent fewer cops on the street than there were even five years ago, a condition exacerbated by the protests around Wall Street because several local cops are sent by each precinct in the city to work at the demonstrations, further reducing the number of cops patrolling Rockaway on each tour. Even so, officers from the 100 Precinct have made four good burglary collars in the past two weeks, By the way, the homicide in Far Rockaway last week was the fifth in the precinct this year, equaling last year’s total.

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked by reporters how the city, facing a severe financial crisis, was going to pay all the overtime for the cops patrolling the protests at Wall Street and elsewhere, his answer was, “We’ll come up with the money somewhere.” In light of that, how come he can’t come up with the much-lower amount of money needed to save the jobs of valuable school workers – almost all of whom actually work with kids rather than at Tweed Courthouse or the district offices. Seems that he can always find the money for Manhattan projects or for his friends. The Mayor’s girlfriend, Dana Taylor, is on the board of the company that owns the park.

A new law being pushed by the Republican majority in the Senate would restrict New York State’s ability to control who may and may not carry a concealed weapon in the state. The proposed legislation would strip the rights of states to determine who can carry a gun by allowing people with permits in one state to carry in another state as if they were at home. For example, a person who has a permit to carry a handgun openly in his or her home state would be able to do so in New York City without any legal liability. “The law would increase the threat of gun violence against New Yorkers, compromise the safety of our police officers and their ability to crack down on illegal firearms and undermine the considered judgment of this state to the public safety needs of its citizens,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The good news for seniors on Social Security is that they will be getting a 3.6 percent boost in their checks, the first raise in three years. The bad news is that an expected hike in Medicare premiums will eat up at least a portion of that raise. Insiders say that the Medicare premiums might go up somewhere in the double digits, but nobody is talking. The increase in Social Security will come with the January checks.

City Councilman James Sanders Jr. would like everyone to believe that he is a tough character who can handle the problems in his home district. Sanders promised street justice to the perverts who are fondling women on Queens streets. “If we get our hands on this pervert, the least of his problems will be the law,” Sanders, an ex- Marine, said recently. “This is not the kind of community that abides degenerates.” If only he got so tough on gun thugs, we might not have the shooting spree that exists now in his district. Class sizes in city public school classrooms are the highest they have been in a decade, thanks to the lack of new buildings and the mayor’s insistence that class size does not matter. Class size, however, is set by the city’s contract with the United Federation of Teachers and the city has broken that contract in most of the system’s buildings. Which district has the worst overcrowding in the city? District 27, which includes Rockaway schools, has 212 classrooms that are overcrowded in relation to Manhattan districts, for example, which have fewer than 100 overcrowded classrooms even though that borough has many more schools and many more kids.

A recent poll shows that almost three-quarters of New York voters favor a tax on millionaires. The poll, done for Crain’s New York newspaper, shows that 83 percent of all Democrats and 55 percent of all Republicans favor the tax, which is opposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Manhattan may be designated as “New York,” and Brooklyn might be the borough of Hip, but Queens is the best place in the city to bring up kids, a new poll shows. The Marist College poll questioned more than 1,000 New Yorkers last month, asking them about the livability of their neighborhoods. Of the 200 Queens residents who were polled, 82 percent said that their community was tops when it came to livability.

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