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Westmoreland Association Acts Against Crime & Vandalism
On June 26, 2003 about 40 Westmoreland Association members and nearby neighbors attended a meeting, organized by WA member Charles Manna, in Admiral Park (the PS-94 school playground, between 42nd and 43rd Avenues). We discussed our concerns about disruptive, destructive and dangerous activities in and around the park – graffiti, drunkenness, late-night noise, garbage and broken bottles, cars blocking the street, cars and motorcycles racing on our streets, and suspected drug dealing in and around the park.
Those present agreed to establish a telephone network with block captains for the blocks immediately around the park and school. When someone sees a problem that should be reported to the police, we will use the phone network to contact our neighbors so that a larger number of calls can be made. This will help emphasize the importance of the situation.
Starting the same evening as the meeting, members of the Westmoreland Association began to lock the park each evening after dusk and unlock it early in the morning. This step is fully endorsed by the New York City Police Department and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. It has proven to be very effective in reducing the problems at the park – there has been a dramatic reduction in the night-time activity and disruption around the park. The Police Department has assured us of support if there is a problem getting individuals to leave the park when we try to lock it, or if anyone cuts the fence to gain access to the park after hours.
On July 8, about 40 WA members attended a follow-up meeting with Lieutenant Daniel Heffernan of the 111th NYC Police Precinct. Community Affairs Officer Allardo was also present. The Lieutenant was attentive and responsive. He explained that the precinct’s staffing had been reduced from 140 officers to about 100, but he promised to do whatever he could to focus more attention on Admiral Park as well as the other trouble spots in our neighborhood, such as the triangle park at the foot of Glenwood Street and the Long Island Rail Road station. In addition to the drug bust that took place on 42nd Avenue during the summer of 2002, Lt. Heffernan told us that in June 2003 an individual had been arrested at another location for drug dealing; this individual was known also to have frequented Admiral Park. Because that individual had been under surveillance, the Lieutenant had decreased the frequency of uniformed patrols near the park so as not to disrupt the investigation. Now that the individual is in custody, the Lieutenant agreed to step up patrols again. He also said that he would have an officer pay a visit to the individual who owns the motorcycle about which we had specifically complained.
If you have concerns about disruptive or criminal behavior in our neighborhood, speak to one of the officers or directors of the Association, and come to the next Association meeting so that we can discuss ways to address the situation.