From the Times Newsweekly:
During the Oct. 5 meeting at Bethzatha Church of God in Elmhurst, COMET President Rosemarie Daraio told the 104th Precinct’s executive officer, Capt. Raymond DeWitt, and P.O. Thomas Bell of the Community Affairs Unit that vagrants have been occupying Cowbird Triangle, located at the confluence of Hamilton Place, Jay Avenue and Borden Avenue.
According to COMET’s newsletter, residents have also complained of homeless residents occupying another public triangle, the Oliver Hazard Triangle, on the southern side of the Long Island Expressway at the corner of Hamilton Place and Perry Avenue.
Daraio noted that some of the men have been observed hanging their clothes on the fences of the Cowbird Triangle. Their presence in the park, she claimed, has alarmed residents who are now afraid to venture to the location.
“They’ve got to get out of the triangle,” she said. “People feel intimidated. You’ve got to come up with something to deter them.”
Captain DeWitt and Officer Bell noted that the precinct has sent its Conditions Team to visit Cowbird Triangle and spoke with some of the homeless individuals, offering assistance through the city’s Department of Homeless Services. But Bell noted that no police action could be taken to keep the homeless persons out of the park unless the individuals were breaking the law.
“If we see the clothes hanging around the park, we can summons or arrest” them, Bell said. “But being a homeless person is not a crime.”
He went on to note that even in the event a vagrant was arrested for a crime, the chances were good that the person would return to the location upon being released from jail.
Despite the complications, Captain DeWitt indicated that police would continue to monitor the situation and take steps to persuade the homeless individuals to leave the public parks.