HOLIDAY SHOPPING: BE CAREFUL! - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING: BE CAREFUL!

by -

Captain Scott Shanley

Here we are again, another busy shopping season. The best news would be that we all experience a safe, harmless time this year. But, we all know that we have to be alert to accomplish that goal.

Here are several tips repeated each year ‒ ignored by some. Those who fail to be vigilant are the ones who end up preparing police reports instead of greeting cards.

• Stay in well lit areas

• Walk with others as much as possible

• Carry your purse closed and tucked under

your arm

• On the sidewalk, stay away from the curb

• Stay clear of cars standing at the curb with

people at the passenger-side windows

• Don't carry more cash or credit cards than

you actually require

• Don't carry any more identification than

necessary (remember: identity theft)

• When making payment, verify that the

credit card handed back is, indeed,

your own

• Get ready in advance to make payment.

• Minimize the time your purse and credit

card is available to others

• Be certain your cell phone is charged and

ready before leaving home

• Remember where you parked your car

• Request help from store security if you for

got where your car is

• Keep a count of your shopping bags. Don't

leave them and walk away

• Ask for the shopping bags to be stapled

shut. On a bus or train, it will be more

difficult for pickpockets

See something or someone suspicious? Notify 311 or 911

Please stay safe. Be alert. Your family needs you!

WHEN IS THE NEXT COP104 MEETING? WHERE?

The next COP104 meeting will be on Wednesday, January 17, 2007, starting at 7:30PM, at Our Lady Of Hope Cafeteria (on Eliot Ave and 71st Street, Middle Village). Enter the building through the same door as usual, but then turn into the cafeteria, instead.

This is an opportunity to meet the officers and officials of the 104th Precinct. The precinct officials speak for a few moments, providing crime statistics in the precinct, as well as useful information for the residents to be a little more secure.

The balance of the time is given over to the attending residents to ask questions or provide information on criminal conditions they are aware of and want handled by the police. Information provided by the public can be confidential (this is a common choice), or can be provided from the floor.

In the November meeting (in Maspeth, at Maspeth Town Hall), comments from the audience made it obvious that there is a disturbing trend: Response time to calls for police are far too long, but, worse, the responding officers on three occasions chastised the callers ‒ rudely.

PO Thomas Bell, of the Community Affairs Unit took these comments seriously and promised to relay them to Captain Shanley, who was unable to attend. When any officer is rude, do not engage in any debate. Get all the identification you can, and report the rudeness to the Captain, promptly.

As for delayed response times, this has been a long-standing problem in this precinct, indicative, we believe, of a shortage of officers. Once again, the Juniper Park Civic Association protests the assignment of officers to private, for-profit events such as sports events, or any events outside this precinct. Captain Shanley must obey orders from higher up to assign these officers, so any complaints should be addressed to the Mayor. His address is on the inside back cover page.

Some of the delays in response times are due to the use of jargon by 911 and 311 operators. Judging from the comments at the November COP104 meeting, callers (that's us) report problems using terms that make sense to ordinary folks. However, those same terms may have entirely different meanings to the 911 or 311 operators, so they rate the report as high or low priority, which may well be opposite our intent. Further, they then broadcast the report (perhaps after changing the jargon) and the police interpret the urgency of the problem still differently.

These operators need additional training in asking questions of callers to learn exactly the urgency of the situation. And, their understanding must match the understanding the police have.

If you write to the mayor, you may want to mention your thoughts on this problem.

When we phone 911 or 311 to report a problem, what we do not need is any misinterpretation of our report. Our obligation is to remain as calm as possible, and to provide all the pertinent details to obtain the proper police response.

IS THE DOG ISSUE SOLVED? CAN I START USING THE PARK?

Not yet, as this is written. By the time your read this, the court may have issued its decision, and the Department of Health ‒ which was asked by the NYC Department of Parks to modify the Leash Law to permit dogs to run loose and unleashed in city parks ‒ may also have decided whether or not to modify that law.

In the meantime, the Leash Law is on the books, and must be enforced. So, if you are attacked or annoyed by any dog while you are in a park, promptly notify the police so that dog can be properly handled.

If any person uses his/her dog to intimidate you from using any portion of the park, or, if any person (other than a park official who presents identification) attempts to force you to use another location of the park, report the incident to the police immediately.

No park user is authorized to prevent your entry to a park, or prevent you from using any portion of the park, or require you to exit the park. Dog owners have not been granted any authority from the city to control others' use of any park or part of any park.

HOW CAN I CONTACT CAPTAIN SHANLEY?

If you would like to talk to Captain Shanley about any police matter or concerns you have in your neighborhood, feel free to attend a monthly COP104 meeting, held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at locations throughout the precinct. Look for posters announcing the next meeting and its location. These meetings are useful to learn more about your community, and for you and your neighbors to inform the Captain of incidents and problems in your neighborhood.

Also, you can e-mail the Captain at adm104@gw.nypd.org. For USPS Mail, write the captain at:

64-02 Catalpa Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385-5257.

Are you interested in participating in civilian patrol of the community, phone GCOP 104COP at 718-497-1500.

Do you have questions or comments for Captain Shanley that you want published in the next issue of this column? Just e-mail: POLICEBEAT104@AOL.COM or write this column at:

Police Beat 104

C/O Juniper Park Civic Association

P.O. Box 790275

Middle Village, NY 11379

We will keep your identity private if you request. If you request, we will forward your question or comment to Captain Shanley and publish his reply in the next issue.