Oct. 16, 2023 By Rachel Butler
Dozens of Flushing residents filled the hall at Bowne Street Community Church to hear reports of reduced crime and applaud the Officers of the Month during the 109th Precinct Community Council Meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Attendees also had the opportunity to voice their concerns to their local officers and to ask any questions.
Jerry Fillipiddis, president of the community council, led the meeting, with local Council Member Sandra Ung also in attendance.
Ung addressed the crowd and ensured that she would be working with the precinct’s new commanding officer, just as she had with Deputy Inspector Louron Hall, who recently stepped down from the position, with Capt. Juan Terrero taking over as acting commanding officer in the interim.
“I would like to assure everybody that whoever the new commanding officer is, I am committed to working with them as I was committed to working with Officer Hall,” Ung said. “One of the pressing issues that I want to address are the illegal street vendors in Flushing and I would like to say that I do foresee a confiscation sweep coming soon and I am committed to working with the NYPD on the issue.”
Speaking about crime rates, crime prevention Officer Mark Burger reported that all crime across the board has come down in the 109th Precinct, with reports of street crime having declined compared to this time last year. Only cases of domestic violence have risen, Burger said.
Compared to this month last year, burglary is down by 44%, grand larceny is down by 30.5% and robbery cases have remained steady, with 27 incidents reported both in 2022 and 2023.
When attendees had the opportunity to ask questions, one concerned resident asked about the danger of fast scooter drivers on the streets, particularly on Main Street in Flushing.
“We never chase people on scooters, as it would be too dangerous but we do confiscate scooters on a daily basis,” Burger said. “Every day, there are more and more out there and we do recognize it as a serious problem.”
Another concerned resident asked Burger about illegally parked scooters in the neighborhood. Burger answered that the precinct has confiscated scooters when they are stationary if they are illegally parked and officers come across them while on patrol.
Heavy street congestion on local roads was among the most pressing issues discussed during the meeting, with another resident adding that even though the area between Union Street and Roosevelt Avenue is deemed a “No Standing Zone,” most people often leave their vehicles idle.
Another issue discussed during the meeting was the matter of homeless people sleeping in front of shops and businesses of Main Street in Flushing.
“We can’t force people to move, unfortunately,” Burger said. “We are aware of the problem and, unfortunately, it may always be a problem,” Burger said.
Later in the meeting, four officers were honored for their roles in arresting those allegedly responsible for the robbery of a smoke shop in Whitestone on Sunday, Sept. 24. Sgt. Michael Murphy, P.O. Matthew Puleo, P.O. Christopher Sheridan and P.O. Marc Rodriguez were each honored as Officers of the Month for protecting the community.
The date and time for the next community council precinct meeting has yet to be announced.
The 109th Precinct covers Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace.