Public Safety

by: Esther Roth 7E

Presentation by: Officer Chris DeSantis – 11 years’ veteran of the Police Department of which 9 years at the 112th Precinct. The last 3 years in Community Affairs.


Our neighborhood of Forest Hills is a low crime zone. There was an uptick of non-violent criminal activity during the Covid19 pandemic. However, this was mainly in grand larceny, shoplifting and car theft. Statistically +3% grand larceny, +10% shoplifting, -7% burglary. Overall crime has been down -5% for the last 5 years. Most car thefts are crimes of opportunity (for example keys left in ignition for a brief period). Thieves are watching the locations and jumping to use the opportunity to steal. A lot of them want to steal the catalytic converters. A mechanic could weld them to your car.


Do not leave valuables, spare keys, cash, etc. in cars. Make sure the car is locked. (Make it beep twice to be sure). Park vehicles in well-lit locations or where there are security cameras.

NYPD offers a free service to check your domicile’s lighting, hedges, safety features and will give you recommendations to secure your home.

When you order a delivery: Request that all packages be delivered inside the lobby and ask for a signature. If a neighbor is unavailable to receive the package let it be deposited at an Amazon’s lock-box location. If they do not comply, call their corporate office to complain. Richard Kuper recommended to include “Deliver to Garage or Doorman” on the delivery address and in delivery instructions.

Phone scams / elderly scams: Never believe it when they tell you a relative needs bail money on the phone. Police never set bail. Bail is only determined by a judge. Never give out your SSN. The IRS or Social Security Administration will never call you. They will only send letter communications. Police do not call for fundraisers.

Safety for women: Walk in pairs. Do not cross your bag over the shoulder. Use pepper spray.

Q & A Session:

–          Hate crimes against Asians: There has been a task force since April. There is very little of it in our area.

–          The Homeless: Mostly emotionally disturbed people. Police can offer services to the homeless, but they cannot be forced to move or use a shelter. “Breaking Ground” is the organization which deals with the homeless

–          In the Subway: Transit Police are responsible for responding to complaints. Advise the Conductor so he/she can call the Transit Police.

–          Traffic safety: Bike lanes being used by all other vehicles such as scooters, motorcycles, etc. Police will not chase them. Chases can endanger lives. However, their vehicles could be confiscated.

–          A neighbor asked if there were plans to make 68th Avenue a one-way street. The same neighbor mentioned the challenges around the intersection of Yellowstone Blvd. and Austin Street near the 112th Precinct. These were both questions better directed to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Richard offered to follow up with DOT. [Richard did follow up, and he learned that there are no plans or outstanding requests to make 68th Ave. a one-way street. He also offered some suggestions to DOT on making the Yellowstone/Austin intersection safer.

–          Marijuana: It is legal to smoke if you are over 18. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of Marijuana. You will be arrested if impaired. A warrant is required to do a Blood test to check for substance abuse.

–          Call 311 to report Cars / SUVS etc. illegally parked outside the garage by the hydrant. 311 calls are recorded. They must respond. Chris will notify the traffic sergeant. Call the 112th Precinct directly 718-520 9311. Call the police to issue them summons.

–          Lights at the intersection of Austin and Yellowstone are very difficult and dangerous: D.O.T. has to be involved. Richard Kuper will follow up.

–          The playground/ park on 68th Avenue: Nobody closes it at night. The Parks Department is responsible for closing it. Chris will try to verify for us.

–          Flyers will be distributed regarding safety issues.  You can also follow Facebook and Twitter pages for NYPD postings.

THANKS to Richard Kuper for setting up this event!

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