(East Elmhurst, NY) – State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) hosted a town hall meeting last evening to discuss public safety in response to a spike in gang-related violence. In a two-month period, three people were stabbed in and around Travers Park, located in Jackson Heights. The authorities believed gang members are behind the attacks.
A standing-room only audience of more than 120 people attended the meeting that was held at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights. Capitan Nicola Ventre, Executive Officer of the 115th Police Precinct; Mariela Herring and Gabriel Mendoza, of the Queens District Attorney’s Gang Violence and Hate Crimes Unit; Eric Cumberbatch, of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; Jay Findling, of the Department of Education’s Gang Prevention and Intervention Unit; and Philip Sparacio and Edwin Falcon, of the Parks Department addressed the audience and answered questions raised by concerned neighbors.
Some members of the public called for more Police and Parks patrol presence at Travers Park and surrounding streets. CaptaIn Ventre encouraged the public to notify the authorities, anonymously, of any gang activity in the area that they may be aware of.
On May 9, an 18-year-old playing basketball was stabbed by a group of people. On March 12, and just hours apart, a teenager and a 23-year-old male were also stabbed at 80th Street and Northern Boulevard.
“We are not going to tolerate gang violence or any other violence in our streets, and we are not going to lose our parks to gangs” said Senator Peralta. “We must ensure that we continue to protect our neighborhoods, and keep them as safe as possible. But, at the same time, it is also important that we offer kids after-school programs to keep them off the streets. It is unacceptable that children and young adults are at risk in our parks and streets.”
Senator Peralta added, “I am glad to be working with Council Member Dromm, the 115th Police Precinct and all the other agencies in the efforts we are making to tackle this situation. The community expressed serious concerns about gang activity, and we will make sure we put all the necessary resources possible to combat it.”
“We need to fight back against gang violence in every way possible,” said Council Member Dromm. “I am working closely with Senator Peralta and 115th Precinct Deputy Inspector Brian Hennessy to ensure that the NYPD addresses this uptick in gang activity and the community’s concerns. The public can rest assured that I will continue do whatever is necessary to help keep our neighborhood safe.”