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Big Spike In Knife Crime Discussed At Town Hall Meeting

Deputy Inspector Hennessy

Deputy Inspector Hennessy

March 4, 2016 By Michael Florio

The 115 Precinct is not immune to New York City’s recent uptick in knife crime.

The City has seen a more than 20 percent increase in knife slashings and stabbings compared to the same period last year, according to the NYPD.

Knife crime has noticeably spiked within the 115 Precinct as well. Commanding Officer Brian Hennessy said at a student safety town hall meeting Thursday night that the precinct saw 34 stabbings in 2015 compared to 16 in 2014 – a more than 100 percent increase.

However, these crimes do not represent the random slashings that have plagued other areas of the City.

“Of those 34, 10 were domestic incidents and seven occurred at bars,” Hennessy said. “We’re not seeing random slashes.”

Hennessy said that in the majority of these incidents, the victim knew the perpetrator. He also noted that gang-related incidents drove the number in 2015.

The precinct has seen one random slashing recently.

A 19-year-old woman had her thigh slashed by an unknown male at the intersection of 25th Avenue and 79th Street in early February.

The majority of New York’s random slashings have occurred at train stations in either Manhattan or Brooklyn, according to Hennessy. He credited the low number of slashings in Jackson Heights to the strong police present at the subway stations within the 115 Precinct.

State Sen. Jose Peralta, who co-hosted Thursday’s town hall with Assembly Members Francisco Moya and Michael DenDekker, advised residents to stay alert to their surroundings while walking.

“It’s easy to get distracted looking at your phone,” he said. “You have to be alert and be aware of your surroundings.”

Detective Angela Ellerby and Police Officer Edward Soto spoke to the parents in the audience. Tips they provided included making sure kids who walk home from school keep their keys in their pocket until they arrive at their front door.

“If they wear the keys around their neck or swing them in their hand a predator will see that and know the child is going home alone,” Ellerby said.

Ellerby also stressed that children should not write their names on the outside of their backpacks, as predators can see that and call out to them.

She told parents to warn their children about strangers and not to trust all adults, and to teach them to resist and make noise if anyone ever grabs them.

She also emphasized the importance of children knowing their parents’ names, as well as their address.

“We have had kids that only know their parents as mommy and daddy,” she said. “That is not helpful.

The town hall was held after a North Corona man was arrested last month for following a 10-year-old and asking her to come with him. The child ran to a nearby crossing guard who intervened.

The crossing guard was honored by Peralta, Moya and DenDekker at the town hall.

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