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NYPD cracks down on illegal street vendors in Queens

NYPD addresses quality-of-life issues, cracks down on illegal street vendors in Queens
NYPD addresses quality-of-life issues, cracks down on illegal street vendors in Queens 02:11

NEW YORK -- New York City is cracking down on quality-of-life issues. On Monday night, the NYPD focused on illegal street vendors.

Video from Saturday shows vendors and their products lined along 91st Street near Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Mi Farmacia technician Milton Reyes said that's the norm outside his workplace.

"It's troubling. All day long they're lined up. Customers have problems entering the pharmacy. It's getting worse and worse," Reyes said.

The NYPD says complaints have been rolling in. It is sending a message that quality of life needs to be fixed on Roosevelt Avenue alongside other city agencies. Officers moved in on Monday and confiscated items, sending many vendors scrambling and quickly packing up.

One frustrated vendor said she sells secondhand clothes. Another claimed she has a permit and pays taxes.

"We took all the items, if they didn't have a license, which all of them didn't have a license," NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry said.

NYPD leaders say they're not looking to make arrests. Rather, they want to clean up this quality-of-life issue.

"This is a long process. This isn't gonna happen overnight, but were starting to focus more and more on it so the people who live here, who pay taxes here. The business owners that are losing money, we're doing it for them," Chief of Patrol John Chell said.

One woman in support of this crackdown said she believes all vendors should be licensed but she feels for them.

"The way we live today, they have to work two, three jobs just to sustain a family," Ana Paulino said.

City Councilman Francisco Moya said vendor education and outreach are part of the efforts in the area and a Roosevelt Avenue task force is in the works.

"We're gonna be looking at the issues that are impacting this area, not just streets vendors but the prostitution that exists here as well, crime and quality of life," Moya said.

The NYPD said it plans to monitor this area with cameras and stepped up patrols, and take those efforts to other areas in the city where vendors are operating illegally.

The Street Vendor Project said it's disappointed with the city's approach, adding, "The city has a chance to reform the vending system by ensuring that every vendor can obtain the required business license, and the set of rules are reasonable and fair."

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