2013-02-06 / Features

108th Pct. Reports Stats For 2012

BY THOMAS COGAN

For the year 2012, the 108th Police Precinct was rated 70th among 76 precincts in the city for crime occurrences.

That was the same level it had attained by the last meeting, in November 2012, retaining it at year’s end. As Deputy Inspector Commander Donald Powers said, lower is better, so the 108th is happily near the bottom. The January meeting began with the crime report, and when the question and answer period followed, the first matter covered was, unsurprisingly, the continuing investigation of the Lou Rispoli homicide in October.

The car fleet owner of 48th Avenue has also become a familiar topic, and his allegedly obstructive presence in Woodside was again occasion for complaint.

Murders and rapes had not occurred within the precinct in the year thus far, through the third week of January, though there is a homicide showing up from late December in the 28-day report. Statistics are small, of course, but they show increases only in felonious assault (three to one by comparison with the same week in 2012) and grand larceny (nine to six). This last category includes breaking into automobiles. The commander said that if one or two perpetrators are arrested and charged with car break-ins, the numbers tend to fall off noticeably. A couple of them were caught, but will probably be back on the street before the end of February, he said. He also said that most of the crime statistics in the command are attributable to Woodside, mainly some parts in the northern sector.

The first question raised was regarding the Rispoli case—Woodside resident Lou Rispoli, a community activist and gay rights advocate, who was bludgeoned in an assault at 41st Street and 43rd Avenue, early Saturday morning, October 20 and died five days later—namely, why the sketches of two suspects had not become more widely available. Powers said he asked the precinct press office to release the sketches and a description of the car they allegedly were driving but at the time of the community council meeting the material had not been released. He said, just to inform those who might not know, that the car is described as a white two-door with halogen headlights. Another recurring part of the case is the question of the precinct’s crime scene van, and why it reportedly did not arrive for more than two hours after precinct headquarters was notified of the assault. The commander said that remains an internal affairs matter, so he cannot make a comment.

Another felonious assault that raised an inquiry occurred New Year’s Eve at Paddy Duggan’s bar, 47-14 Greenpoint Avenue, with one man being stabbed, evidently in the course of a heated dispute. Powers said that two men are awaiting a court appearance in the matter.

Carol Terrano, a Woodside resident, was complaining again about the local entrepreneur who paints resold police cars for his transport service and parks them all over the neighborhood streets. The complaint is the same but new events arise constantly. Powers said the man is thoroughly familiar with the system and knows how to game it; for instance, knows that each of his cars must be moved every couple of days and that the police chalk the tires for evidence of whether or not each has been moved, so he moves each slightly and is good for a little while longer. He’ll pay some fines as the cost of doing business, even fairly expensive ones for the occasional towing. Even the Department of Buildings got on his case, inspecting his garage and fining him heavily for several violations. He has paid the fines and paid to have the violations corrected, so he’s still going. The commander said it’s a matter of who lasts longer.

Finally, there was news about Lieutenant Mark Wachter, who was highly popular during his time in the 108th Precinct. He is now Captain Wachter and is executive officer of the 114th Precinct in Astoria.

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