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Following a recent unsolved murder near the Glenwood Houses on Ralph Avenue, local residents are lobbying for a larger police presence in and around the public housing complex.
The matter was brought to the attention of City Councilmembers Lew Fidler and Kendall Stewart, who both represent parts of the area, at the recent Flatlands Civic Association (FCA) meeting.
“We asked the councilmen how we can increase police presence in the area and have a little more foot patrols,” said FCA President Aiden Pursoo.
Pursoo’s comments came after 23−year−old Vladimir Michel was shot to death at about 4:35 p.m., April 14 behind a Flatlands strip mall near the corner of East 59th Street and Paerdegat Avenue South.
Witnesses said that two black males were spotted running away from the corner just after the afternoon shooting.
Police sources said detectives are looking into the possibility that the killers may have been gunning for another man and had shot the victim by mistake.
They’re hoping that security cameras from neighborhood stores could help them identify the shooters as well as track their activities before and after the streets echoed with gunfire, police sources said.
“They [police] notified me of the incident and I notified the community,” said Pursoo. “We’re concerned about it and would like to see a little more police in the community.”
Pursoo said they would like a greater police presence in the Glenwood Houses, which run from Ralph Avenue to East 56th Street, and from Glenwood Road to Avenue I.
The area along Avenue H going into Glenwood Road, where there is a small business district, also needs a better police presence, he said.
Pursoo said that all but one of the buildings in the Glenwood Houses are equipped with cameras. Stewart said that he is getting an allocation to install cameras in that building, he said.
Captain William Russo, executive officer of the 63rd Precinct, said a day after the killing that the NYPD put up a SkyWatch tower near East 59th Street.
The camera’s placement atop the tower has allowed police to record neighborhood activities for blocks in every direction. It’s also been acting as a deterrent, police sources said.
At the same time, cops from the 63rd Precinct have increased their coverage in Flatlands and stepped up vertical patrols in the Glenwood Houses, where two other men were wounded in a shooting back on March 24. It’s not believed that the two shootings are related.
Cops from the 63rd Precinct said that shootings in the command are up from two in 2008 to six this year.
The shootings are spread throughout the precinct, which covers Mill Island, Mill Basin, Marine Park and Bergen Beach as well as Flatlands, police said.
Fidler said he asked the precinct to step up their police presence in the area.
“The SkyWatch will not be there forever, and I want to make sure if and when it goes, there can be some stepped−up presence on the ground,” he said.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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