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Councilman Calls for More Cops Amid Rise in Crime

LONG ISLAND CITY — The 108th Precinct may be one of the safest areas in the city, but Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer wants more cops there anyway, after a spike in crime hit the neighborhood.

He has also requested $200,000 from the City Council to finance security cameras in the district, which includes Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside, Astoria and Maspeth.

“We have a low crime precinct, but we are always working to make it even safer,” Van Bramer said. “One crime is one too many.”

Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, recalled an attempted rape on Easter Sunday morning. A woman was attacked on her way home around 5:45 a.m. in Sunnyside and a neighbor who heard a commotion rushed to save her.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer addresses the community’s concerns at a town hall meeting in Sunnyside
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer addresses the community’s concerns at a town hall meeting in Sunnyside
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“The request for more cops has always been top priority for the community, because perception is everything,” he said. “And crimes have been happening.”

On April 21, two men were held up in front of 64-13 Broadway by two other men, one of whom was carrying a shotgun.  Police released a video of the suspect who allegedly pointed the shotgun at the men while his partner stole their wallets, keys, money, cell phones and jewelry.

The precinct saw 360 major crimes through April 22 last year compared to 372 during the same period this year, according to police data.

The biggest increases have been in burglaries, felony assaults, rapes and robberies. 

So far this year, there have been 93 burglaries, an increase of 25.7, NYPD data showed.

And there were 54 robberies, compared to 47 over the same period last year, an increase of 14.9 percent. Felony assaults jumped from 27 to 39, data showed.

The number of rapes has also increased, from 4 this period last year to 6 this year.

Van Bramer said he wants the precinct’s commanding officer to have as many cops in the area as needed to keep it safe.

Residents agree they can not have too many officers.

“In general, it’s a really good and safe neighborhood, but recently I’ve heard about cases of stealing bicycles,” said John Latus, a Hunters Point resident.

Van Bramer said if he gets funding for the new security cameras, he will consult with the precinct to determine where to place them.

“Security cameras can’t hurt,” said Conley. “It’s always a deterrent, and God forbid if somebody is a victim of a crime at least you have something that can be a useful tool to solve the crime.”