Online Precinct Meeting Halted Midway Through Due to Technical Difficulties

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on December 4, 2013 3:40pm 

 The 112th Precinct’s first online meeting sought to keep more residents informed about matters important to the neighborhood, including crime prevention tips.
The 112th Precinct’s first online meeting sought to keep more residents informed about matters important to the neighborhood, including crime prevention tips.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — The 112th Precinct’s long-awaited foray into virtual meetings, meant to bring the precinct council meetings to those who can't attend them in person, had to be cut short and postponed to an unspecified date due to technical difficulties, officials said.

Monday night's long-awaited online forum, broadcast by Spreecast, a social video broadcasting platform, featured simultaneous streaming video from Heidi Chain, the precinct community council president who was broadcasting from her home in Forest Hills, and Capt. Thomas Conforti, commanding officer of the precinct, who was broadcasting from inside his office at the 112th Precinct Stationhouse in Forest Hills.

"This is an exciting new project for us ... and the [Police] Department has been fantastic in their response," Chain said in her introduction — which lasted just minutes before the broadcast began to break up.

Her remarks were followed by Conforti, who started to discuss the most recent crime statistics in the area when his video feed began to cut in and out. 

The team also tried to bring in a third broadcast — of Det. Gigi Redzematovic, the Community Affairs officer — but her feed also broke down.

Conforti, whose video feed went black a couple of times and his audio cut out repeatedly, apologized for the "technical difficulties."

"This is all technology driven so we can anticipate little bumps in the road," he said.

Before Chain had to call a halt to the meeting before 8 p.m., less than a half-hour after it started, Conforti was able to brief those watching about the precinct's crime being down 6 percent from this time last year. He added that majority of the precinct's crime consists of grand larcenies, including identity thefts, unattended property thefts as well as phone and purse snatchings.

So far, there have been 410 grand larcenies in the area this year, 3 percent less than during the same period last year.

The only crime category that increased in the precinct is burglary, Conforti said. There have been 157 break-ins this year, in comparison to 123 last year, an increase of 27 percent.

Chain said that all the questions submitted by residents ahead of the forum that were not answered will be addressed at upcoming meetings.

It was not immediately clear when the next online forum would take place.

Spreecast, a San Francisco-based company which formed in 2011, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The next regular Precinct Community Council meeting, which will include a holiday party, will take place at 7 p.m. on Dec. 18, at Russell Sage Junior High School at 68-17 Austin St.

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