Zoom meetings have been the go-to method for Build the Block meetings in Canarsie for over two years, no thanks to pandemic protocols constantly changing.
Finally, on Thursday, December 1st, the 69th Precinct hosted an in-person gathering at Church at the Rock, 1288 East 92nd Street, where Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) and residents living in Sector C had a more personal and intimate setting to discuss quality of life issues affecting their sector of Canarsie.
NCOs Tony Tan and Raymond Wong were happy to once again see residents face-to-face as they offered some timely safety tips. With the holidays in full swing, the officers have seen the usual increase in package thefts and warned shoppers to practice caution when ordering online.
“There are people who watch that Amazon Prime delivery truck and when no one is watching, they’ll just take the packages,” said Wong. “If you can have your packages delivered to a safe location when you know you’re not going to be home, that’s one way to be ahead of the criminals.”
The officers also recommended installing a mailbox that locks outside of your home so crooks can’t easily access checks or other sensitive information.
Officers Wong and Tan fielded questions about the worrisome and growing number of smoke shops in their sector, which spans from Glenwood Road to the north side of Avenue L and from Ralph Avenue to the west side of East 94th Street.
“We know it seems like every bodega in Canarsie is being converted into a smoke shop and there’s not much that police officers can do about it,” Tan said. “There are a lot of robberies and thefts in those shops. ATMs are even stolen and we’re closely monitoring activities that occur in the few shops we have in the sector.”
There are currently four operating smoke shops in Sector C (of the 10 that are currently operating in Canarsie as a whole) – two on Flatlands Avenue and two on Avenue L. The precinct’s narcotics team is closely monitoring shops where dangerous crimes occur. Unfortunately, officers can’t easily “shut down” these proprietors without a hefty number of criminal complaints from residents.
The community is advised to call the Department of Consumer Affairs (212-639-9675) and report any smoke shop or business that possibly has uncouth/dangerous/illegal practices. In order for the NYPD and higher ranking police sergeants to take action against these shops – and possibly help shutter them indefinitely – residents need to play a bigger role in reporting issues.
Despite the fact that cannabis dispensaries will soon be able to legally operate in the city (once their license applications are approved), many believe that shady shops already in existence – also selling snacks and deli goods – are a sort of “smoke screen” for illegal pot sales.
If there are issues in your sector that you would like to address, follow the 69th Precinct’s Twitter page to find out when the next meeting takes place: @NYPD69Pct. To view the boundaries of each sector in Canarsie, and the NCOs assigned to them, visit nyc.gov/site/nypd/bureaus/patrol/precincts/69th-precinct.page.