DOT to install streetlights to deter Briarwood crime

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After a rash of assaults and incidents of slashed tires and broken windows last month in Briarwood, the city Department of Transportation has decided to add more street lights in parts of the neighborhood, City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) announced.

The lights will mostly be installed around the Briarwood Library, the councilman said.

The decision came after Gennaro held a meeting with the DOT to discuss the possibility of installing additional lighting along Main Street as well as the Queens Boulevard bridge and subway construction site, his office said.

Capt. Mike Coyle, commanding officer of the 107th Precinct, said the lighting will lead to a decrease in vandalism.

Maura McCarthy, the Queens borough commissioner for the DOT, said the new lighting will be installed during the last three months of this year.

“I am pleased to announce to the residents of Briarwood that additional street lights are headed your way,” Gennaro said in a statement. “I want to thank the DOT, NYPD and the Briarwood Community Association for their cooperation in this matter.”

“We are pleased to be working with Councilman Gennaro and the community to improve the neighborhood’s street lighting,” McCarthy said. “We inspected this location and found that additional lighting was needed and have placed this project on our implementation schedule.”

Briarwood Community Association President Seymour Schwartz, a Community Board 8 member, applauded Gennaro and the DOT for helping to make the neighborhood safer.

The community had seen an increase in armed assaults, slashed tires and broken windows last month.

“While these acts of vandalism and assaults in our communities are unpredictable and random, the Briarwood Community Association, together with Councilman Gennaro and the 107th Police Precinct, are bringing to bear all possible resources and countermeasures to resolve these unacceptable issues,” Schwartz said.

Gennaro and Schwartz said they were also asking the Police Department to install surveillance cameras in the neighborhood.

But if funding is too low for the NYPD to install the cameras, they said they would speak to the Queens borough commander to find another way to fund installation of the cameras.

“We are beefing up our presence during the times which we believe the break-ins ´╗┐are occurring,” said 107th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Tom Motta.

A Briarwood resident said items were not being taken from the cars that were broken into.

Coyle said the precinct has instituted increased patrols in Briarwood, including an undercover detail, and said the vandalism is most likely a string of random acts.

The precinct may also start bicycle patrols, Coyle said.

The commanding officer asked Briarwood residents to report any suspicious activity to the precinct’s community affairs desk at 718-969-5973.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 11:09 am, October 12, 2011
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