WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES FEBRUARY 20, 2020 15
Ozone Park community voices concern
over recent crime wave in neighborhood
BY BENJAMIN MANDILE
Ozone Park residents, law enforcement
representatives and concerned
community members crowded into
the Deshi Senior Center in Ozone Park
Thursday night to discuss the crime
wave that they say has rocked the
neighborhood and its surrounding
communities for the past 18 months.
Beforehand, members of a community
coalition met for an hour with Sam
Esposito, the president of the Ozone
Park Residents Block Association.
During that meeting, the 102nd and
106th police precincts agreed to put
more sector cars in the area, Esposito
said during the Feb. 13 general meeting
with Ozone Park residents.
Assemblyman Mike Miller, who
represents the 38th district, said he
sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s
offi ce asking for New York State Police
to be allocated for the area. He also has
reached out to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s offi
ce to request for surveillance cameras
to be installed in the area, he said.
Miller said de Blasio’s offi ce has said
the NYPD will “step up” patrols in the
area until the end of Sunday, Feb. 16.
The Feb. 13 meeting was organized
aft er a brutal beat down and robbery
of a Bengali man on Sunday, Feb. 9, in
broad daylight at 77th Street and Glenmore
Avenue in Ozone Park.
The man is still in the hospital in serious
condition, according to a source
familiar with the incident.
Despite the victim being of Bengalidecent
and many previous victims
being of Bengali-decent, Esposito said
he does not believe the Bengali community
is being targeted specifi cally.
Rather, he believes the entire Ozone
Park community is under attack.
Assemblywoman Stacey Amato
Pheff er said that the community has
to take actions to protect themselves,
which starts with sharing information
and building trust.
Iqbal Ali, president of the Cityline
Ozone Park Civilian Patrol (COPCP),
said that some residents do not come
forward because of the language barrier
between themselves and police,
which Ali said is something that must
Another reason incidents are not
reported is fear. Some residents who
may not be in the country legally or
with proper legal documentation fear
arrest and deportation, according to
Misba Abdin, president of the Bangladeshi
American Community Development
and Youth Services.
Despite New York being a sanctuary
city, residents say they fear
Photos by Dean Moses
immigration offi cials aft er recent incidents
of Immigration Customs and
Enforcement offi cers interacting with
people in the city.
Bangladeshi American Community
Development & Youth Service (BACDYS)
helps people fi nd resources in the
community for a wide range of issues
from becoming a part of the workforce,
gaining housing and learning the English
language, Abdin said.
COPCP could be one solution to
mitigating the crime in the Ozone Park
community, its members say.
COPCP is not an arm of law enforcement,
but is a volunteer-based group
focused on being the eyes and ears of
the NYPD, according to a COPCP legal
“We’re here for the community,” Ali