The Nieuw Amersfort Community Association (NACA) began the year by meeting the commanding officer of the 63rd Precinct and the constituent liaison from their City Council member’s office for the first time at the January 24th meeting held in the basement of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 3913 Avenue J.
Commanding Officer Captain Rachael Kosak arrived with a full complement of Sector D Neighborhood Coordination, Auxiliary and Community Affairs officers. She apologized for not attending sooner due to a conflict with Tuesday night classes she had been taking in the fall.
With about six months in her position, she said she is committed to giving them her full attention now that she has had a chance to learn more about her precinct, the community, geography and some of the area concerns.
“There was a shooting over the weekend on East 46th and K and that block has always been a kind of troubled site,” a resident said of a double shooting that happened around 9:15 p.m. on January 21st, resulting in a fatality.
Kosak indicated that they had some sort of idea from what it stemmed from but hopefully there’s no need for public alarm. “As you’ll see, we have increased our presence and there’ll be more officers over there,” she said. She delivered a brief monthly crime report and asked for community concerns.
Homeowners talked about recurring vehicular and traffic issues that have been plaguing the neighborhood concerning abandoned or derelict cars; cars with paper plates, fake or no plates; dollar vans; double-parked cars; catalytic converter thefts; difficulty getting speed bumps, traffic lights or stop signs where needed; and the lack of response to emails, calls and 311 reports.
They also mentioned ongoing quality of life issues with Sanitation; the Amersfort Park fence; aggressive real estate company solicitations by mail, sometimes resulting in private property sold for large and unwanted construction projects; accessible communications; an upcoming bus network redesign; and redistricting.
Resident Pearl John had a garbage problem and said that calling 311 works. She dedicated a morning to making 42 calls to 311 and the next week it was cleaned up. She also said that she and her neighbor visited Councilwoman Farah Louis’ office and got her attention when they weren’t getting the response they expected.
“My point is, we as community residents must get involved in what is going on in the community because if we just sit quietly and say nothing and do nothing, nothing will get done – we’ve got to get involved,” she said. NACA President Steve Yamin also said to vote, and another resident suggested bringing petitions to the meetings.
Sabrina Dieujuste, representing Councilwoman Farah Louis, said that this was her first time at the meeting. “I was listening to the audience concerns and about how we have not been doing our job as effectively,” she said. “And thank you for that information because that’s what we are going to do – we are public servants and we want to be held accountable for everything we’re not doing.”
She went over each of the complaints mentioned earlier and explained how city agencies work, why some issues were hard to resolve and the most effective ways to get results.
Her office was aware that quality of life has declined since the pandemic. They have been trying their best to juggle it as quickly as possible and have provided Sanitation with extra funding for Manual Litter Patrol Services (MLPS) to address sanitation issues such as illegal dumping.
Dieujuste will also look into adding the Amersfort Park area as a no-harassment zone from real estate companies, and she will bring Daniel Heredia to the next meeting to speak about redistricting.
Both she and Kosak emphasized the need to not just call 311, but to also get a confirmation number and share it with them by either calling or emailing Dieujuste at 718-629-2900, firstname.lastname@example.org; or texting or emailing their NCOs. All information regarding NCO contacts and Build the Block meetings are available on the 63rd Precinct website at nyc.gov/site/nypd/bureaus/patrol/precincts/63rd-precinct.page.