2018-03-14 / Front Page

Dutch Kills Civic Association Meeting

By Thomas Cogan

There was a small turnout at the Dutch Kills Civic Association in March.  Though the weather was terrible a night earlier it didn’t carry over as might have been expected, but there must have been rumors that the meeting site, Growing Up Green School on 29th Street, was snowbound or that the storm would be making a comeback.  A representative of one of the city’s departments was on schedule to appear and speak, but her office sent regrets.  So the meeting made do with the 114th Police Precinct contingent and heard a crime report and warnings about mail fishing that remain valuable though constantly repeated.  Steve Moreno had something to say about the DKCA community garden on 29th Street, which has some things growing even now (kale) and should be abundant by summer.  

Commander Captain Osvaldo Nuñez of the 114th Precinct arrived with several officers, and one of them set up a table covered with literature.  The commander read the 28-day crime report and said that in one of those weeks crime occurrences were surprisingly few.  For the entire period, burglaries were down in number, though one practitioner became distinguished by avoiding windows and fire escapes, coming instead through the front doors after using some method of opening them.  Another one, on Roosevelt Avenue, burglarized his neighbors in the apartment house where they all lived. 

Grand larceny, mainly theft of unattended property, was so far up in frequency it nearly doubled the previous month’s total, 24-14.  Grand larceny auto was up, largely because auto dealerships were hit repeatedly, the thieves being informed about the dealers’ bad habit of leaving keys in the ignition.  Two of the thieves turned out to be 13-year-olds out for a joyride.  Regarding the thefts, the commander said that the ignition systems of today are computerized and can therefore be hacked, though not by the primitive thieves in the 114th Precinct.

But video recordings of criminality are limited by the perpetrators’ being up on some of the technology.  Though they cover their faces, even the thwarted recordings are not necessarily failures, the commander said.  Once images are caught on tape, police are able to look at and study them and something valuable might be found.

The sad case of the newborn baby abandoned and left to die in a trash receptacle in Dutch Kills Playground was a troubling story to hear.  Capt. Nuñez said DNA tests were made and he was waiting for results to be returned from the laboratory.  He hoped it would lead to a solution, but it would have to be reached quickly or the case would go cold.  A woman hearing all this was shocked that the baby could be left in a trash can not in some bleak hour of early morning but midday.

Another police report also brought in Dutch Kills Playground, where apparent gang members got into a dispute that led to gunfire.  The captain said one round struck the P.S. 112 building at Crescent Street and 37th Avenue, abutting on the playground.  Fortunately, the school was empty at the time, since the students were on a brief vacation.

Officer Gabe Tovar had the latest news about mail fishing, whereby thieves lower sticky stuff like freshly-chewed gum or flypaper into mailboxes, attempting to withdraw envelopes with checks in them, usually for paying bills.  The advice to the public once again is to mail before the last collection is made (at 5:00 p.m., say); or better yet, mail it at a post office.  As has been emphasized often, these miscreants tend to work in the early morning, when nobody is around.  There was a plug for the Signo Uni-Ball 207 pen too, since its ink is said to be resistant to “checkwashing,” or rendering the check writer’s money amount blank, so criminals can substitute their own number and cash it.  Steve Moreno of the DKCA said that lately, crooks have been looting United Parcel boxes too.  There was even a report of mailbox keys falling into their hands, necessitating a re-calibration of mailbox locks.

The captain was happy to report that field training for Police Academy students has been going on lately.  He said it is likely that at least some of the seven academy students will be assigned to the 114th Precinct.

Assemblyman Brian Barnwell’s representative, Mark Papish, brought up the assemblyman’s area median income, or AMI, bill.  At present, the federal calculation for area median income covers a broad range and, many believe, promotes a distorted economic picture of the populace.  The bill would reduce the area covered to one ZIP code district, rather than, in the case of New York, an economic average based on an area comprising the wealthy and poor parts of the city and parts of Connecticut, New Jersey and Westchester County.  Another bill, 762a, would provide tax relief for parents of schoolchildren and those on fixed income.

Steve Moreno had his current report about Windmill Park, the narrow garden on 29th Street near 39th Avenue.  He said he would have a meeting for volunteers soon, as spring and the time to grow things approach.  Kale, radishes, tomatoes, garlic and onions should be among the crops, all of them grown in organic soil.  He also said another committee would work on tree pits for those homeowners who request service.  One woman said she wanted her tree removed altogether, since its roots are blocking her drains and gutters.

DKCA President George Stamatiades brought up a program to install security cameras in Dutch Kills homes.  He is seeking 100 homeowners to participate.  Cameras would be bought in bulk and sold to homeowners at a lower rate than would obtain for individual purchase. Volunteers would help homeowners with installation.

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