Feb. 26, 2016 By Christian Murray
The commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct has put several nightclub owners on notice: Control your patrons or we will close you down.
Captain John Travaglia, who is in charge of the precinct, said Tuesday that he is working on closing down problematic clubs.
“We are very close to closing one [temporarily] now,” he told about 30 attendees at the precinct’s monthly meeting at the Sunnyside Community Services Center.
Clubs such as Secrets, Show Palace, Club Allure and CityScapes Gentlemen’s Club are all being closely monitored, he said, as the precinct attributes many of this district’s violent crimes to patrons of these clubs.
Travalgia said that there were four shootings last year, with three occurring near Show Palace, located at 42-50 21st St., and a fatal shooting by Secrets at 49-14 Queens Blvd. He said that that there are a handful of clubs that are responsible for most of the violent crimes on weekend nights.
Travalgia said the clubs stretch the precinct’s resources.
“It upsets me that on weekend nights I have to babysit nightclubs to prevent shootings and serious crimes,” he said. However, “statistics show that we have to be there since these are the most likely places where people can lose their lives.”
In November there was a murder outside Secrets. Travaglia said police have yet to make an arrest. Meanwhile, Show Palace and Club Allure, located at 33-02 Queens Blvd., continue to rack up violations.
“Just the other night we issued a disorderly premise summons following a fight outside this location,” Travaglia said, referring to Club Allure.
“I’m going to take every tool to make sure these clubs stay in control of their crowd and if they don’t I’m going to proceed with civil enforcement on them,” he said.
Secrets and Show Palace were both closed in December stemming from court-sanctioned nuisance abatements.
Secrets was closed 10 days after a fatal shooting there and Show Palace was closed after investigators found servers selling marijuana and cocaine along with non-alcoholic drinks and lap dances.
The establishments reopened after making a pledge to the court that they would operate in a manner agreed upon with law enforcement.
However, the fines can be severe. Then there are legal fees and loss of profit from closure.
“Places that have a lot of money can weather the storm for longer than others,” said Lt. Jon Cermeli, who handles special operations. “A ticket can cost up to $10,000.”
Meanwhile, crime continues to tumble in the precinct.
In 2015, the number of reported crimes was down 13 percent compared to 2014, with felony assaults and robberies noticeably down.
For the year through Feb. 21 2016, the number of reported crimes compared to the same seven week period in 2015 is down nearly 12 percent. There has been a drop in violent crime.