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Queens Residents Concerned Over Escaped Psychiatric Patients

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A state senator and Queens community leaders say they’re fearful after another patient escaped from Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.

As CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported, Clifford Brown, sent to Creedmoor from Rikers Island for a psychiatric evaluation, escaped this week by jumping a fence. He wandered Queens for a day before police picked him up.

Earlier this year, convicted killer Raymond Morillo got past security by using a friend’s visitor’s pass and made it all the way to Tennessee before being captured.

“It both cases, it’s different ways that these people escaped,” said state Sen. Tony Avella, D-Queens. “So there’s not just one flaw in the system. There seems to be multiple flaws.”

Avella said that after Morillo escaped, the state Office of Mental Health promised to review security measures, not just at Creedmoor but across the system.

The review is being performed by the OMH’s inspector general, who didn’t know about this week’s escape, Avella said.

“The Office of Mental Health did not notify the inspector general that this had occurred,” Avella said. “It was actually my office that called them. And I think they were pretty upset.”

The Office of Mental Health did not reply to emails asking for comment.

In the nearby residential neighborhoods, people are also upset.

“Where I am, you’re used to leaving doors unlocked during the day,” said Angela Augugliaro of the Queens Colony Civic Association. ” … Something like this changes your whole mind-set.”

Community groups, however, said they are pleased that Creedmoor promptly reported this week’s escape to them so they could warn their members.

Residents, meanwhile, say they’re anxious to hear what the Cuomo administration is going to do improve security at the facility.

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