2016-03-09 / Features

Peralta, Moya, DenDekker Host Safety Town Hall


State Senator Jose Peralta speaking at the Town Hall he hosted, along with Assemblymembers Francisco Moya and Michael DenDekker in Jackson Heights, to address a rise in knife attacks and other safety issues. State Senator Jose Peralta speaking at the Town Hall he hosted, along with Assemblymembers Francisco Moya and Michael DenDekker in Jackson Heights, to address a rise in knife attacks and other safety issues. State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), along with Assemblymembers Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) and Michael DenDekker (D-East Elmhurst), hosted a town hall meeting on public and student safety because of the uptick in knife assaults citywide, and the attempted kidnapping of a 10-year-old girl on her way to school. The meeting took place the night of March 3 at the Renaissance Charter School, located in Jackson Heights.

In the first two months of 2016, more than 670 people were slashed or stabbed across the city, which represents an increase of more than 20% when compared with the same period in 2015. In the Senator’s district, a 19-year-old woman was slashed in the leg as she was jogging at the intersection of 79th Street and 25th Avenue in East Elmhurst.

“In light of the spate of slashings, I am very glad neighbors had the opportunity to participate in the meeting and learn about how to best protect themselves,” Peralta said. “One simple safety measure we can take is just being alert and aware of our surroundings.”

The Town Hall meeting focused on student and public safety, following recent incidents. In January, a man, who was later arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, followed a 10- year-old along 81st Street in an attempt to eventually abduct her. Fortunately, the girl ran away from the suspect and called for help. A crossing guard who was nearby heard the screams and confronted the suspect, who then fled the scene.

Peralta presented a Citation from the New York State Senate to Crossing Guard Angela Kostalo “for her contribution and dedication to student safety.”

The New York Police Department offered a special presentation about student safety measures. The presentation was given by Lieutenant Dwayne Lee, Detective Angela Ellerby and Police Officer Edward Soto, from the Queens Community Outreach Division. Deputy Inspector Brian Hennessy, Commanding Officer of the 115th Police Precinct, answered questions asked by the audience. Martha Ayon, of Local 372, which represents the Crossing Guards, and Arnaldo Salinas, Executive Vice President for Delta Strategic Solutions and founding member of the Guardian Angels, also addressed the audience.

“The uptick in slashings throughout the city is disturbing. With incidents right here in our community it’s critical that we bring residents and police together to discuss ways to remain safe. No one should feel unsafe walking the streets and it’s our duty as elected officials to help raise awareness and protect our constituents,” said Moya.

DenDekker noted, “I want to thank everyone who came out for this Town Hall Meeting...The safety of our children and of our neighborhoods is and must continue to be our highest priority. Continuing to have these conversations and supporting and expanding the presence of crossing guards is a vital part of these safety efforts.”

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