Bay Terrace residents and community leaders are understandably upset over the FDNY no longer providing 24−hour security at Fort Totten. The private security has been in place ever since the city took over the parkland from the federal government.
The park’s safety will be turned over to police in the 109th Precinct. They say they will do what it takes to keep Fort Totten safe, but have no intention of providing round−the−clock security. The FDNY has been forced to trim its budget for the coming fiscal year.
Community leaders say they are afraid vagrants will engage in dangerous behavior, set fire to abandoned buildings, etc. The danger is real and the police will need to make regular drive−thrus. The message must go out that even with private security guards gone, criminal behavior will not be tolerated.
That has not satisfied local leaders. “Shame on the FDNY. What they’re doing here is totally unacceptable,” said Kim O’Hanion, Community Board 7 Parks Committee chairwoman. Warren Schreiber, the Bay Terrace Community Alliance president, said the FDNY “betrayed the community”
But critics are being unfair. The city’s budget crisis is real and the FDNY had to make difficult decisions. Fort Totten will be treated like other borough parks and we expect the NYPD will keep this park safe.
The community board and other community groups can be expected to keep a watchful eye on the fort and its historic buildings. They have an excellent relationship with the command at the 109th.
©2009 Community News Group
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