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Neighbors living in the area off Union Turnpike in Bellerose have been sleeping with one eye open lately after waking up to various acts of vandalism, members of the community said.
After the most recent incident, in which residents along 248th Street between Union and 81st Avenue woke up to find their windshield wipers twisted and torn off their vehicles, Bellerose’s Frank Virone said enough is enough.
Virone said he has experienced several acts of vandalism to his property over recent years adding up to thousands of dollars in damage, with this most recent incident costing him more than $50 on his car.
“They must think my car is the parts department,” Virone said. “How many times is this going to happen here?”
On the morning of Dec. 20, Virone said he had a run-in with the man suspected of warping and yanking windshield wipers on nearly a dozen cars parked along his road, but was surprised at the 105th Precinct’s handling of the issue.
In this particular case, Virone and his neighbors said officers would not take the suspect in for questioning unless they had more concrete evidence.
“Considering how often this happens here, I expected different behavior from law enforcement,” Virone said.
Within hours of the incident, which neighbors said came as no surprise, civic leaders including Bruno and Lucy DeFranceschi, of the North Bellerose Civic Association, met outside on the sidewalk to address the ongoing concerns.
“We just don’t want this anymore,” said Lucy DeFranceschi, who lives on 247th Street, where she said vandals had broken car windows earlier this month. “It is becoming too much.”
A spokesman for the 105th Precinct said officers were regularly patrolling the area in light of the uptick in acts of vandalism, especially during the holiday season, to hopefully reverse the trend.
Glen Oaks Village President Bob Friedrich said similar acts of car break-ins and vandalism were rising in his part of northeast Queens as well.
“Obviously, this quiet neighborhood has become a very active area,” Friedrich said. “We don’t expect this level of criminal activity. The 105th Precinct needs some help covering this area.”
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) also joined in with the Bellerose community to see the damage firsthand.
“This has become a mini crime wave,” Avella said. “Part of the reason is that the 105th Precinct has limited resources.”
Avella said the incident was a symptom of an ongoing problem he has been working to address since his days in the City Council to potentially split the 105th and 109th precincts in half.
Last year, the senator introduced state legislation that would split the two precincts into subdivisions to handle the area’s population density and geographical makeups.
The 105th covers Queens Village, Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Bellerose, Glen Oaks, New Hyde Park and Floral Park while the 109th Precinct covers downtown Flushing, East Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace.
“Since 2007, the population in these precincts have only increased,” Avella said. “This adds to the pressure the precincts are under to patrol and respond and further stretches their limited resources.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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