2015-07-08 / Front Page

108th Pct. CC Meets Before Summer Break

By Thomas Cogan
Commander Captain John Travaglia began the last 108th Police Precinct Community Council meeting before the summer break by saying that the past year has been highly successful, largely owing to the work done by his 10-officer anti-crime team.  Because of that, he decided to award Cop of the Month honors to all of them.  He read a crime report that added to the success thus far.  It showed a drop in the crime rate of nearly 58 percent during the previous week and nearly 24 percent for the year to date.  He answered questions about bicyclists who behave badly and vehicles that shouldn’t be on the city’s roads or off them but are.  The meeting ended with a reminder about the National Night Out Against Crime in early August.

There was a particular instance of meritorious action that was part of the 10-officer anti-crime team’s record of achievement.  On Wednesday, June 10, Officers Laclair and Niculae of the team made an important discovery after spotting a driver in a Jeep, running a red light.  Officer Laclair attempted to stop him, but the driver bolted into oncoming traffic.  Fortunately, simple disruption was the worst consequence.  The driver was chased until being stopped at 39th Place and 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside and apprehended.  When the Jeep was examined, a secret compartment was found containing a variety of illegal narcotics. 

The effort by those two officers and comparable efforts by the rest of the team were the reasons for citing them all as Cops of the Month.

The crime report had a sour note for the week just past.  Though the crime rate was down by nearly 58 percent there were two rapes recorded where none had occurred in the same week of 2014.  For the same 28-day period there were four rapes in 2015 compared to two in 2014; and for the year thus far 10, compared with six.  There were no felonious assaults for the week, down from four; and for the 28-day period six, down from 15.  An examination of the year to date indicates some brutal activity from January to May, however, since assaults were actually up, to 71 from 69.  Grand larcenies were down all the way, for the week (six from 11); the month (27 from 47); and the year to date (189 from 287, a 34.1 percent drop).  Grand larceny auto held even for the week (one and one); declined slightly for the month (eight from nine); and increased for the year to date (to 63 from 57, or 10.5 percent).  The captain said that for the year to date, traffic incidents were down 3 percent for the year, with an 8 percent injury decrease and no fatalities.

During the question period the captain was asked about ticketing errant bicyclists.  Calling it a matter “dear to my heart,” he said there had been 560 summonses issued in the past year, a sixfold increase.  He said Vision Zero, Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s program to build traffic safety, has had a good effect; and yes, he said in response to a question about them, delivery riders (mainly on electric bikes and even motorcycles) are among those ticketed for unsafe riding, on both streets and sidewalks.  The topic of motorcyclists in general elicited complaints about their freewheeling activities, and to them were added drivers of “quads,” four-wheeled, off-road vehicles on the loose on several local streets.  No one driving a quad should be in New York City, Capt. Travaglia said:  “This isn’t the Adirondacks.”  If one is even sighted, 911 should be called, he said.

One man asked if bicycles should be registered, now that the plan is in effect to construct lanes for bikes even on the busiest of roads—notably Queens Boulevard.  The captain called that a legislative matter and suggested the City Council be lobbied about it.  Asked where summonses for bicyclists are issued, he said mainly on local primary and secondary roads, often for jumping red lights.

One of the last questions asked was about the effect of a low crime rate on any effort to build the strength of the precinct’s officer corps.  Does a low crime rate in the 108th lessen its allotment of officers when a general increase in their number is funded citywide?  The captain allowed that there may be some such effect but said nothing more.

 Don McCallian of the community council announced that this year’s Night Out Against Crime will be held early Tuesday evening, August 4 in Windmuller Park in Woodside, near the Berkley Towers on 39th Place.  It is likely to feature musical entertainment and visits from several political and law enforcement figures. 



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