Sep. 7, 2023 By Anthony Medina
Neighborhoods encompassing Queens South are experiencing a decrease in five major crime categories that were once cause for concern years prior, but still have some problem areas that need attention, according to Chief Kevin Williams, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South.
During the 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting, held inside the Emanuel United Church of Christ in Woodhaven on Tuesday, Sept. 5, the council welcomed Williams to take part in updating the community on recent NYPD activity.
The chief’s remarks highlighted the work being done across Queens to rid the streets of violent crimes and the efforts from the 102nd Precinct to flatten major crime, especially in a usually difficult summer period.
Shooting incidents were 52% less in Queens South year-to-date, according to Williams, and addressing the major crime categories in the area made lower-level crime more frequent — a compromise for dealing with fewer shootings and murders.
“One of the things that I’m proud of, to be quite honest with you, with the work that’s been done by the women in New York City Police Department, is that Queens South has really shifted to being more a property crime-driven borough,” said Williams.
Property-related crimes also linked to grand theft auto and grand larceny auto incidents remain an ongoing issue in the area. Williams advised residents to take precautions when leaving cars unattended, as the issue of car thefts remains promenade.
Capitan Jeremy Kivlin, the commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct, continued the meeting and issued three officers and one honorary police cadet with “Cop of the Month” awards, in recognition of outstanding service over the months of June, July and August. Chief Williams stayed throughout the awards portion of the night to give thanks to the recognized officers.
Later into the meeting, Kivlin listed some of the most improved crime categories at the 102nd Precinct, including robberies, burglaries, grand larceny, and petit larceny cases.
According to NYPD crime stats for the 102nd Precinct, from the week of Monday, Aug. 28, to Sunday, Sept. 3, petit larceny cases decreased (6%) year-to-date when compared to last year. There were also decreases in robberies (17.7%), shooting incidents (33.3%) and transit-related crime (41.7%) in comparison to the previous year. Burglaries (2%) also fell.
A Petit Larceny Apprehension Team (PLAT) was created within the precinct to focus on addressing these ongoing issues of shoplifting in local stores and pharmacies like CVS and Rite Aid, Kivlin said during the meeting. Petit larceny cases also correlate with porch pirates and package thieves, as it remains a prominent issue in the community.
Crime stats also showed there was an increase in murder cases (66.7%). with a difference of two more cases this year, and in grand larceny auto crimes (13.7%).
Residents also took the opportunity to voice their concerns over quality-of-life issues. The resurfacing of car meets and a surge of illegal motorbike riders was worrisome to some residents, but Kivlin said the precinct continues to address both issues to the best of its capabilities. He encouraged the public to continue making officers aware of continuing problem areas.
Officers were also made aware of a business along Atlantic Avenue, Richmond Hill Lumber, that is allegedly blocking the sidewalk on a consistent basis and causing traffic hazards. Atlantic Avenue traffic safety was one topic that generated a unified response from meeting attendees, who pointed to personal and business-related vehicles on the stretch of road turning a two-lane avenue into a one-lane.
Progress on the crackdown against illegal smoke shops throughout the area, particularly on Jamaica Avenue, also made its way to the forefront of discussions during the meeting. Kivlin confirmed the 102nd Precinct was able to shut down five smoke shops for good, with as many as 15 targeted and placed on a probationary period with the city after an NYPD investigation.