Our 104th Police Precinct continues to be one of the most understaffed precincts in the City of New York. As of this printing there were only 139 officers assigned to the ranks of the precinct. With these numbers it is virtually impossible for the precinct to adequately and safely provide coverage for the 7.4 square mile area. Crime is of course a priority and fortunately it is down 16% to date in the precinct, a testament to the hard work of the officers and Captain Peter Loehle, Commander of the 104th. However addressing quality of life issues and traffic enforcement for the neighborhoods has practically disappeared. Modern equipment for the precinct continues to be on the wish list of civic leaders and residents. “Trying to get a phone call through to the 104th Precinct can be a very frustrating experience,” said Bob Holden, JPCA president. With only four lines on the precinct’s main switchboard, the desk sergeant has an impossible task of managing the busy hub. If you are the fifth caller to the precinct the phone will ring and ring and eventually cut you off.

Due to mounting budget deficits, Mayor Bloomberg has released a budget cutting the police budget as well as other city agencies. “There have been several times when the precinct could manage only three patrol cars on certain tours to cover the entire precinct,” said Roe Daraio, president of COMET (Citizens Of Maspeth & Elmhurst Together). That is downright dangerous and totally unacceptable.

The future looks bleak for addressing the numerous problems in the104th Precinct. The decades long battle to get adequate police coverage for Middle Village, Maspeth Glendale and Ridgewood is a fight that we are losing and things just might get worse before they get better. We should not however give up and certainly not accept inadequate police protection. More residents must get involved so that our elected officials and City Hall hears our frustration. Attend COP104 and town meetings and stand up and be heard. Make sure to attend at least one meeting a month to voice your objection to our unfunded precinct.

Beware of the Illegal Sign Scam

If the proliferation of billboards (especially in Queens) wasn’t bad enough it appears that Illegal advertising is again popping up around the city in greater numbers. Since there is little or no enforcement by the NYC Department of Transportation, these signs continue to increase in size and are multiplying at an alarming rate. They invade our lives by promising us the possiblity to earn extra cash, secure a job, lose weight, secure big money for our homes etc. Even unions and political candidates get into the act by posting their bumper stickers and posters on almost every street corner in the neighborhood.

Of course any company that resorts to this cheap and illegal form of advertising is surely to be avoided and more than likely is involved in some sort of scam. By even calling their phone number you can get trapped by the ruse. The best thing to do when you see this form of advertising is tear it down. We also urge you to bring the sign or flyer to the next JPCA Town Meeting so that we can compile at list and urge city officials to crackdown on this visual pollution.