2015-11-04 / Front Page

Rape Increases By 200 Percent Reports 108th Pct. C.C.

By Thomas Cogan
The 108th Police Precinct Community Council meeting for October was brief, not having the many inquiring persons in attendance that were present at September’s first meeting of autumn.  Some interesting items came out of it anyway.  The crime report was relatively positive but a 200 percent increase in rape for the month was jarring; and the traffic report included a horrible incident.  A robbery/assault report had a twist to it.  The Cop of the Month award went to an officer specializing in domestic violence, a specialty that has been developed only in recent years.  With the third anniversary of the unsolved Rispoli murder passing a few days earlier, Commander Captain John Travaglia again expressed his dedication to bringing the case to a successful close.

Before naming the Cop of the Month, the captain said it’s difficult to pick one each month.  Incidents of bravery or efficient police work can provide moments of merit for the award, but so can steady development of special skills, he said, as demonstrated by the latest winner.  The October Cop of the Month was Patrol Officer Francisco Maria, who has become a specialist in domestic violence cases.  Capt. Travaglia said P.O. Maria has handled over 500 cases and made 100 arrests, recently making an arrest and seizing a weapon from the crime scene.  The captain said that when he was new to the force, domestic violence was not given serious consideration but now is regarded as highly important, as P.O. Maria’s work experience indicates. 

The monthly crime report showed that there were no murders within the precinct’s confines in the week ended Sunday, October 25, nor were there any in the same period last year.  The 28-day period this year and last were also free of murders.  In the year to date there has been one murder, down from two during the same period of 2014.  One rape was recorded during the previous week, none in the same week last year.  During the 28-day period, though, there were three, compared to one last year; and during the year to date, the total has been 16, a 33 percent rise from the previous year’s total of 12.  Robbery was up from two to five during the week and even at nine for both 28-day periods.  It was down considerably in the year to date, falling from 129 to 92. 

Felonious assault incidents were off greatly during the week, going from seven to one.  In the 28-day period they declined by one-third, from 21 to 14, and the year-to-date total was down to 130 from 141.  For the last two years, the burglary total for the week has been five.  For the 28-day period it was also nearly even, the number for 2015 being 25, down from 27 in 2014.  For the year to date, burglaries were down nearly one-fifth, from 197 to 161.  Grand larcenies were up by two-thirds during the week, to 15 from nine, but off a little for the 28-day period, to 44 from 48.  The year-to-date number was down nearly a quarter, to 350 from 461.  Grand larceny auto was up to four from last year’s three for the week, while for the 28-day period the number was 16, up from 15.  For the year to date it was similarly close, being 124 in 2015 and 123 in 2014.

In the captain’s traffic report, the 28-day total of motor vehicle accidents rose to 427 from 2014’s 418.  Injuries were also up slightly.  The one fatality occurred Wednesday, October 14 in Maspeth, at 48th Avenue and 56th Road.  There, a woman bicyclist was struck by a truck, whose driver was found to have an expired license.  He was also discovered to be under the influence of cocaine, and was arrested on a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

One of the robberies in the week’s crime report took place on Sunday, October 25.  The robbery victim emerged at 6:25 a.m. from the Show Palace gentlemen’s club, 42-50 21st St., near an exit of the Queensboro Bridge.  He walked a block east to 13-05 43rd Ave., where he was jumped by three men, who attempted to rip away the gold chains he was wearing around his neck.  He resisted and was shot three times in the lower abdomen.  The three assailants fled in two cars.  The victim was taken to a hospital and there listed in critical condition.  He was also found to be in possession of heroin and was placed under arrest.  Police are looking for a Dodge Charger and a Nissan Altima as the escape vehicles.  The value of the gold chains was estimated to be $10,000.

Capt. Travaglia said that the unsolved Lou Rispoli homicide case remains of concern to him after three years and cannot be allowed to go cold.  Rispoli, a Woodside resident and social rights activist, was assaulted and severely beaten on 43rd Avenue near 41st Street in the early morning of Tuesday, October 20, 2012.  He died in hospital a few days later.  The captain again asked for any information that might lead the case toward solution.  He was asked about a departmental internal affairs investigation regarding the case and replied only that disciplinary action was taken.

The captain was congratulated by a person at the meeting for commanding the precinct that was judged safest in the city.  He smiled and said that had been the week before, but in the following week the 108th was edged out by the 113th Precinct on Baisley Boulevard in Jamaica.

Nick Gulotta, from the mayor’s office, told the meeting that Mayor DeBlasio is an advocate of bail reform and that the current thinking is to emphasize that demanding bail of a defendant should be based on the likelihood of future criminality rather than the possibility she or he would be a flight risk.  A bill for bail reform is currently in the state legislature in Albany. 

Pat Dorfman, of the community council and Sunnyside Artists, gave the meeting last notification that the pre-holiday crafts fair will be held at Queen of Angels Parish Hall, Skillman Avenue and 44th Street, on Sunday, November 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  She said the exhibitors are “all local and very good.”

November’s meeting will be held earlier than usual, on Wednesday, November 18.  Diane Ballek, head of the community council, said that the fourth Tuesday, the usual time for a meeting, is very close to Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26, and might not be feasible.

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