June 11, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The new commanding officer at the 108th Precinct is going to meet with Hunters Point residents on Monday to discuss crime, safety and other quality of life issues.
The meeting will take place at LIC landing, located in Hunters Point South Park, and Captain Lavonda Wise – along with the 108th Precinct’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers – will be in attendance. The gathering is scheduled to take place on June 14 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The informal event is being organized by the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and aims to provide residents with an opportunity to discuss some of the ongoing issues on the waterfront—such as illegal fireworks, vandalism, drag racing and late-night parties.
“This will be a casual meeting for residents to voice their concerns and get to know our new commanding officer,” said Rob Basch, president of the HPPC, a non-profit group that oversees the waterfront parks.
A number of rank and file officers from the 108th Precinct are also expected to attend, Basch said.
The NYPD will outline its strategy to combat illegal activity on the waterfront this summer.
The precinct pledged during a virtual public meeting in April that it would increase the number of officers patrolling Center Boulevard–and that policing the waterfront would be a top priority. The 108th Precinct also committed to closing off 2nd Street and 54th Avenue to curtail drag racing.
Wise and members of the 108th Precinct also toured the parks with the HPPC in March to help identify trouble hotspots, Basch said.
Basch said that the parks have been a lot quieter so far this year.
“There have been incidents of fireworks going off and people staying in the park after the 10 p.m. closing time. We have not witnessed the big parties with loud music that we saw last year but there is still time for that,” he said.
Basch said that cars and motorcycles speeding in the area still pose a big danger to residents. He said that the HPPC is looking to meet with the DOT over the coming weeks to find solutions to the problem.
The meeting on Monday comes as private guards have already been deployed to patrol the parks on weekends.
The initiative, which is independent of the NYPD, is being organized by a group of Long Island City residents known as the LIC Community Action group.
The group has hired the guards to beef up security despite promises given by the 108th Precinct that there would be more uniformed officers at the parks this summer.
The LIC Community Action group launched the initiative last year, with security guards brought on to patrol the periphery of the parks in September and October.
The security team — which consists of approximately four guards —patrol the walkway outside both parks from Thursdays through Sundays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. They began operations on Memorial weekend and are expected to continue through the summer.