Cell phones play movies and music, send e-mail, access the Internet — and have turned South Jamaica into a war zone.
Residents have grown accustomed to SWAT teams with dogs and high-powered weapons searching for suspects who have used knives and guns often in the bright daylight to steal iPhones and other electronic marvels. If you think we are exaggerating, you have not been paying attention.
Last week we reported that the police had arrested and charged a suspect in the murder of Patrick Dixon, a teenager from South Jamaica who was killed when he apparently refused to turn over his cell phone to several young men trying to rob him.
If Stephon Huffman, 17, is convicted of killing Patrick, also 17, he will most likely spend the better part of his life in prison — and rightly so. The madness of this new wave of crimes is mind-numbing. Despite all their fancy gadgets and applications, they are still just phones. They are not worth dying for and certainly not worth killing for.
A man who lives in the area and does not want his name printed said simply, “That’s how bad it is around here.”
Another neighbor added, “Young kids are doing it to each other. Not a month goes by that you don’t hear about some kid getting hurt.”
In the same issue we also reported that an 18-year-old from Jamaica and a 17-year-old from Brooklyn have been charged with attempted robbery and resisting arrest after they allegedly tried to swipe a cell phone from a kid walking on a Jamaica street.
The suspects reportedly told their victim, “Don’t move, give up your phone.”
They are now being held in jail. Bail has been set at $30,000.
Police say that citywide the theft of cell phones and other electronic devices has become a major problem, especially in the city’s high schools. It is possible, even likely, that principals are reluctant to report these thefts.
Parents should not have to be afraid to give their children a cell phone or an iPod because they might get robbed or even killed. Yet that has become the tragic reality in southeast Queens. In some parts of the city, the most amazing electronic marvels have become the biggest nightmare.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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