After months of Zoom meetings, only a handful of people attended the first in-person 63rd Precinct Sector D Build the Block Meeting, but they worked well with police to address perplexing quality-of-life issues in the area.
Residents living near the Flatbush Junction that borders the 63rd and 70th Precincts were concerned about the increasing homeless population that is evacuated daily around 6:30 a.m. from the 2/5 subway line and cross into Sector D on Flatbush Avenue.
“They are coming down the street on both sides,” Community Board 18 (CB18) board member and resident Denise Gourdine said to Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO) Jonathon Perez. She feared that something was going to happen because those evacuated are not happy. They loiter and panhandle outside of buildings and by the B103 and B41 buses; some are menacing or intimidating.
“That would be expected if we are reinforcing our security in our subway systems,” Perez said. “If a person is having a medical emergency or an emotionally disturbed incident, the response should be to call 911 because that person can be a danger to themselves or other people,” he added.
Perez said that unless they loiter inside a business or block the entrance, or are seen panhandling, which is a summons at most, all the police can do is ask them if they need help, but if they refuse, they can’t do anything.
Increasing garbage and litter leading to unsanitary conditions and rodents were reported at the drive-through delivery area between the railroad line and the rear of Target and Aldi, between Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues, at the junction and around P.S. 119, located at 3829 Avenue K.
A resident who has lived for 40 years near the school on East 39th Street, between Avenues J and K, said that these behaviors are becoming too common. She observed people parking on the side of the street and leaving their trash by the school. She and her neighbors, as well as the school custodians, try to do their part, but it’s too much for them.
Littering is a summons only if an officer observes it, but there are things residents can do such as reporting it to 311 and attending local meetings, including CB 18, in person so that the complaint is noted in the records. Residents can also request extra trash cans or an extra garbage pickup on a block that needs it.
Also reported were speeding cars in a school zone and people who cover their license plates to avoid tolls and to potentially avoid being caught for other acts of lawlessness.
“We have seen, and this is literally every day, people who speed down the street,” the resident said. “People are disgusted by it and would benefit from some type of patrol.” She was concerned for the schoolchildren because people are doing 20-25 mph in a 15-mph zone and not stopping for the children or obeying the red lights.
Graffiti is also an ongoing problem. Gourdine said that if you go down Flatbush Avenue early on a Sunday morning, you see buildings tagged up and it looks horrible. Perez said that it’s not only in Sector D, but the entire 63rd Precinct.
Perez is the graffiti coordinator for the entire precinct but feels that he needs a team to get the graffiti problem under control. He will see if he can talk with the businesses first and if they don’t clean up after a certain period of time, he will issue a summons.
NCO Mario Guerrero works with the NYPD Blue Chips and Summer Youth Programs. He is currently recruiting youths, 13-18, for the softball team and community service like graffiti removal.
Sector D NCOs cover the areas of Glenwood, Flatlands and New Amersfort. Contact information for Perez and Guerrero are as follows: Email: Jonathon.Perez@NYPD.ORG, tel. 929-287-9517; Email: Mario.Guerrero@NYPD.ORG, tel. 929-334-8352. Build the Block meetings are held quarterly and residents can find their meeting by typing in their address at 1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/bureaus/patrol/find-your-meeting.page.