111th Pct. police promise to target illegal fireworks

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111th Police Precinct Capt. Julio Ordonez promised Bayside civic leaders Tuesday that police would crack down on a house known for setting off fireworks every Fourth of July in response to complaints that officers responded too late last year.

“That house — I guarantee you, they’re probably going to try it again,” said Ordonez of the residence on 33rd Avenue and 214th Place, which he said would be closely watched this year.

Community Affairs Officer Santo Elardo said he would speak to the family about the fireworks this weekend, and Lt. Dan Heffernan said fireworks complaints on the Fourth would be reprioritized so that officers were sent to that site first.

Ordonez advised residents to report people illegally setting off fireworks by calling the Police Department’s anonymous hotline, 1-800-FIRE-TIPS.

Ordonez and East Bayside Homeowners Association President Frank Skala engaged in some fireworks of their own at the annual Bayside Community Council meeting held at the 111th Precinct.

Ordonez objected to Skala’s holding up a box of used fireworks casings to emphasize the danger posed by the explosions.

“I take this as an affront,” said Ordonez, who said he had already met with Skala to discuss the issue and that police had issued summonses to the offenders.

Skala and the captain agreed, however, that noise from bar patrons forced outside because of the recent smoking ban would get worse in the summer months. Neighbors living near Maguire’s pub had recently complained of noise emanating from the bar’s back area.

“They want to smoke. What do you do?” said Ordonez, who predicted a potential increase in physical fights between passersby and belligerent customers.

Ordonez said assaults and grand larcenies were up in the precinct this year, but the level of burglaries had remained even.

The captain said much of the precinct’s crime involved identity theft in which stolen credit card numbers were used by criminals to make purchases.

Thefts of that type are reported as occurring in the 111th if the victims are local even if the actual use of the stolen credit card is done over the phone in another state, said Ordonez.

Bayside activist Loretta Napier asked police at the meeting whether the recent arrest near 48th Avenue and the Clearview Expressway of three black youths on suspicion of burglary involved racial profiling, as she said some community members had charged.

“The boys were asked if they had stolen a car, if they had beat up a kid or if they had robbed a house,” said Napier after the meeting.

“I told them that this community will not tolerate that,” she said, though she stopped short of accusing the precinct directly.

Napier reported that police at the meeting took offense at the accusation and that they searched for suspects based on witness reports.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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