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Locals fear crime in Briarwood

About 85 Briarwood residents have signed a letter urging 107th Precinct Capt. Michael Coyle to pay extra attention to a street in their neighborhood where they say there has been an escalation in crime.

Briarwood resident Andrea Veras presented the letter to police officials at the Nov. 10 Community Board 8 meeting, and members of the 107th Precinct said they planned on better monitoring the problem area around Main Street between 84th Road and Manton Street.

“People do not want to walk home anymore because of the problems,” Veras said. “When they get off at the 71st-Continental subway stop, they will take a taxi home because they are afraid, but not everyone can afford to take a taxi all the time.

Veras and the other 84 residents who signed the letter said there has been an increase in vandalism on the block heavily used by pedestrians walking to and from the subway station, including a surge in broken car windows and garbage that residents are calling on the city to pick up. About 20 car windows were broken during October, Veras said.

“Briarwood used to be known as the hidden gem of Queens,” Veras read from the letter at the CB 8 meeting at Hillcrest Jewish Center. “After more than 20 broken cars during the month of October and the mentioned assaults, people are becoming reluctant to walk without fear on this particular block.”

Because the area is a high-traffic area, Veras said trash quickly accumulates and residents there have asked the city to install a trash bin. Additionally, residents said they hope to see a security camera in the area and an increased police presence.

Lt. Michael Gordio from the 107th Precinct said at the meeting that officers are “proactively” looking for people who are breaking car windows or into the vehicles. He asked residents to call police if they see a black 1998 Ford Taurus with a New Jersey license plate because police believe the person driving that vehicle has broken into a series of cars in the area.

Gordio also noted that police arrested a man who they believe “was responsible for numerous car break-ins in Briarwood.”

“Hopefully, with that arrest it stops or slows down,” Gordio said of the increase in smashed windows.

CB 8 District Manager Marie Adam-Ovide has also been working to alleviate Briarwood residents’ concerns and has recommended the city install additional light fixtures in the area. The community board also sent letters to the NYPD and city Sanitation Department, Adam-Ovide said.

City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) has said his office immediately began working on the problem upon receiving notice from Briarwood residents last month that there was a problem and has reached out to city officials to remedy the situation.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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