FLUSHING, Queens (WABC) -- New York City officials announced a program to enhance safety for businesses and shoppers in Flushing, Queens.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz was joined by NYPD officials and members of the community to announce the Flushing Merchants Business Improvement Program.
"We will put individuals on notice through this program that disruptive and illegal behavior will not be tolerated as merchants try to make a living and residents seek to shop or dine without fear or harassment," Katz said.
The initiative was based on a successful program with the same goal in Jamaica, Queens.
Businesses that enroll in the program can call the 109th Precinct if they see someone committing a crime or disrupting their business in some other way.
Responding officers can then issue a trespassing notice to the individual. Officers will tell the offender if they return to a location where they've been reported they can be arrested.
"Safety is a top priority for our community, and we want to keep everyone in Downtown Flushing safe," Executive Director of the Flushing BID Dian Song Yu said. "With this initiative, we hope it will improve safety and security in our community and promote a more positive environment for businesses to thrive."
There are currently 25 businesses from mom-and-pop shops to large chain retailers who participate in the initiative through the 103rd Precinct.
Since the program's creation, they NYPD has issued trespassing notices to 23 people, and only three of those individuals were arrested after they returned to the location.
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