• Car parked at a fire hydrant for at least 53 days before removal, though reported repeatedly.
• Tow trucks showing no registration, blocking intersections, sidewalks, driveways, and hydrants; leaking fluids, with broken glass and all sorts of debris and litter on the streets; tow trucks with autos hooked up, double and triple parked, obstructing the view of moving traffic. This problem persists for at least 3 1⁄2 years despite calls to 311, 911 and to the 104th precinct, council members, assembly members, and anyone who should have intervened. This problem was reported numerous times by various Maspeth residents at COP104 Meetings. The trucks and their parking persisted without remedy.
• Throughout the precinct residents report abandoned cars, cars blocking driveways, cars blocking hydrants. These reports go unaddressed or take excessive time to handle.
• In a recent tour of the precinct with a NY1 reporter armed with a camera, we came upon a private police vehicle (based on the dashboard placard) within three feet of a hydrant in a dense wood-frame house neighborhood in Maspeth. If the placard is counterfeit, why no confiscation? If the placard is legitimate, why no ticket by the patrols in the 104th?
• Two extremely noisy parties in an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood. Over 40 phone calls to 311, 911, and/or the precinct. The ONLY response occurred a little after 1AM. Officers never exited the patrol car. Finally the officers ordered the volume to be lowered. The patrol car lingered for about 15 minutes and drove off (having NEVER exited the vehicle). As the car turned the corner, the volume was resumed.
• The 104th sent officers to investigate the noise the next day, long after the party ended.
• There has been no contact by 104th officers with anyone who complained repeatedly the night of the noise.
• The New York Daily News had a reporter enter the 104th precinct building. While inside, he dialed the precinct number and listened to the phone ring 175 times. All the while the reporter was observing three precinct officers standing by the ringing phone, ignoring the ringing.
• It so happened – utterly by coincidence – that this writer needed to phone the same number a night or two before the NY Daily News reporter's attempt. The phone rang nearly 150 times before being answered by someone who spoke like he had peanut butter in his mouth. I stated the problem to a clearly hostile and indifferent officer. Finally, apparently in an attempt to get me off the phone he told me: “We'll send a car around now.” He wasn't at all embarrassed when I reminded him that he never asked for the location of the problem.
The list is growing. Residents are complaining.
So the question arises:Why?
Is the precinct short staffed or short of equipment? That is a problem caused by the current Mayor. He always finds the money to fund his eminent domain and overdevelopment ambitions. Now he needs to divert that money to the first and highest priority: Public Safety.
As a major part of his campaign for a third term – in opposition to the stated wishes of New Yorkers for term limits, expressed twice at the ballot – the current mayor claims that he has reduced crime greatly.
If crime is down, then why are the officers in the 104th Precinct unavailable to respond to the quality-of-life problems plaguing the residents of the precinct? Or, perhaps, crime is not really down; and the low-crime-rate claim is just a lot of campaign baloney!
Now, if the crime rate is really down, and officers are available, then how does the current Mayor explain his failure to manage police response?
Is there a morale problem in the 104th Precinct?
Is the precinct phone system inadequate? Is the precinct computer system inadequate? Are all precinct officers and vehicles equipped with modern and working city-supplied communication equipment? If any answer to those is negative, that's a problem caused by the current Mayor.
Assistant Chief, Diana L. Pizzuti, is the Borough Commander of Patrol Borough Queens North, a command that includes the 104th Precinct. Since her appointment more than two years ago, she has never appeared at any of the COP104 meetings where she would hear, first hand, the concerns of the residents within the 104th Precinct.
What has she done to handle staffing, equipment and communications in that precinct?
What has Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly done to increase precinct staff, equipment and computer and communications technology? Why are high school (and now even grade school) kids far better equipped to communicate rapidly than the officers at our 104th precinct?
What has the current Mayor done to solve this problem, a problem that has been publicized many times in previous issues of the Berry and at COP104 forums? Does he have more important priorities than controlling the quality-of-life and even criminal problems in our precinct?
We are completely aware that our disgraced Councilman, Dennis Gallagher never lifted a finger to improve conditions in the 104th Precinct, but can Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley list the successful accomplishments she has completed to resolve at least some of these problems?
Can Councilwoman (and Comptroller candidate) Melinda Katz show her interest in the 104th Precinct? The precinct is within the boundaries of the 29th Council District. When was the last COP104 meeting she attended?
Michael Cohen, while the State Assembly representative, regularly attended JPCA Town Meetings and COP104 meetings. He always showed up without fanfare, arrived at the start, and stayed until the meeting ended. What he was doing was always taking the pulse of his district. He was seeking to hear what mattered to the residents so he would be on top of the issues. He is running for the City Council in the 29th CD.
Who will step up to see what has gone wrong at the 104th Precinct, and press for the necessary improvements until the Precinct returns to its old, dependable ways? Who will increase the staffing and equipment and bring modern technology to the officers who serve in that precinct?
That is the person we should seek out and vote for on Election Day 2009.