QUEENS DISTRICT ATTORNEY MELINDA KATZ AND THE NYPD ANNOUNCE THE CREATION OF NEW PROGRAM TO HELP JAMAICA BUSINESSES
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, joined by New York City Police Department officials, members of the Jamaica business community and elected officials, today announced a new initiative to discourage disruptive, unwanted activity inside, and in front of, local shops and stores.
District Attorney Katz said, “This program, conceived in partnership with my Office, the police and the business community, aims to ensure that families feel safe patronizing stores and restaurants. Our store owners and shopkeepers have been greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We want to do everything we can to help them make a strong comeback, and that means deterring disruptive, unwanted activity in and around their businesses. By instituting a clear warning notice prior to any legal enforcement, this program is an equitable way of addressing the problem without necessarily putting more people in the system. Patrons of Jamaica stores and restaurants should be able to go about their business without fear or harassment.”
The way the program works, a new form enables the Police Department to place on notice individuals who have engaged in unwanted, disruptive activity at a participating business.
Merchants notify the 103rd Precinct, and responding officers serve the individual(s) with a copy of the trespass notice, which lets them know that their continued presence or return to the location can or will result in their arrest.
“We are proud of this program that furthers the NYPD’s commitment to assist the communities and businesses we serve as they continue recovering from the strains of the COVID-19 outbreak. With our partners in the Queens District Attorney’s Office, we’ve listened to local concerns and forged an intelligence-driven strategy that will improve public safety,” said NYPD Assistant Chief Ruben Beltran, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South. “And as summer arrives, it will take all of us together — the public, in tandem with our hardworking police officers — to ensure we continue meeting the challenges we collectively face.”
“Our small businesses in Southeast Queens deserve peace and safety, especially when they are confronted with criminal activity in and around their storefronts,” said New York City Council Member Adrienne Adams, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “This new initiative, led by Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, will bring together community stakeholders to address longstanding concerns while also offering warnings to those who engage in the illegal activity.”
City Council Member I. Daneek Miller said, “While Downtown Jamaica continues to undergo a renaissance with new affordable housing development and an ever-expanding variety of retail options, we must keep pace in our efforts to improve public safety in and around these bustling corridors. I am grateful to have an ongoing dialogue with local business owners, our Jamaica BIDs, NYPD, and the Queens DA’s office, and appreciate their responsiveness in this matter to mitigate something that has been a burden on the community for so long.
Jennifer Furioli, of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District, said “In the last year and a half, our merchants have dealt with a lot of upheaval due to the pandemic: significant loss of business, changing State and City regulations, ever-changing worker safety obligations and more. The last thing our businesses need as they try to recover is the added stress of individuals who boldly set up shop inside our community’s stores and restaurants solely to conduct illegal activity, throw parties, harass and threaten workers and drive away customers. We’re pleased that our local leadership, the DA and the 103rd Precinct listened to the advocacy of our BID and merchant community to address this disruptive and unproductive behavior by launching this new initiative. We look forward to establishing positive programming in our district concurrently, such as our upcoming partnership with JCAL on ‘Mic Drop,’ a Friday night outdoor entertainment series, and a community beautification and cleanup day with SE Queens Clean Up, both occurring later this month at Parsons Public Space. Our community will accept nothing less than a downtown Jamaica that is a positive, safe space to shop, work, live and play.”