2015-12-23 / Front Page

Police Increase Patrols In Aftermath Of Forest Hills Fires

By Joyce Vetere Milowski & Dan Miller

Remains of torched new construction site on 66th Avenue near 12th Street in Forest Hills. A police presence has been seen around the clock near this and other recent fire sites.
Photo Dan Miller/DMD IMAGESRemains of torched new construction site on 66th Avenue near 12th Street in Forest Hills. A police presence has been seen around the clock near this and other recent fire sites. Photo Dan Miller/DMD IMAGES

Residents of Forest Hills can feel the tension growing as a greater police presence has been seen in the area that has been hit by a multitude of suspicious fires since last month.

A greater police presence in the area has been notices as evidenced by residents  seeing many more uninformed police officers and patrol cars traveling up and down the streets near where the blazes occurred. In addition the NYPD has stationed a Queens North command vehicle with cameras aboard on 108th Street between 66th Avenue and 65th Road, just around the corner from the blaze reported on 66th Avenue by the Queens Gazette a few weeks ago.

The increase in surveillance and a police presence in the area can be attributed Photo Dan Miller/DMD IMAGESPhoto Dan Miller/DMD IMAGESto a recent meeting organized by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and local council member Karen Koslowitz, between the police, elected officials and representatives from the Bukharian Jewish community.
While the suspicious fires have not been deemed hate crimes it appears that all off the properties that went up in flames were owned by members of the Bukharian Jewish community.

The meeting was held at the Bukharian Jewish Center in Forest Hills with the leaders of that congregation. Although no one has been injured so far Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said at a press conference following the schedule meeting, “This is something that we take extremely seriously and the community stands together in making sure that we find this arsonist that is out there destroying not only people’s homes, but people’s lives and people’s dreams.”

Patrol Borough Queens North Mobile Command Center located on 108th Street between 65th Road and 66th Avenue as police presence has been seen in and around recent fires in Forest HillsPhoto Dan Miller/DMD IMAGESPatrol Borough Queens North Mobile Command Center located on 108th Street between 65th Road and 66th Avenue as police presence has been seen in and around recent fires in Forest HillsPhoto Dan Miller/DMD IMAGESCommunity Patrols have been organized to support local policing tactics. Rewards for information leading to the capture of the arsonist have been offered by the NYPD ($12,500) and by the Bukharian Jewish Center ($50,000). Some Bukharian leaders believe that the local fires are increased signs of anti-Semitism that have been seen recently in many parts of the world.

“See something, say something.” Queens Gazette readers who have information about these crimes should contact 911 or 1-800-577-8477 (TIPS) immediately before the arsonist has an opportunity to strike again. Next time it may be near you, your family, your home.

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