Commander's Report - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the September 2012 Juniper Berry Magazine

Commander's Report

I hope that all in the Juniper Park community are enjoying the summer season and as we rapidly move into autumn it is my pleasure to report on some of the work the members of the 104th Precinct have been doing recently. Also as always I would like to share some crime prevention tips, which may prove to be helpful.

As of August 26th, the 104th Precinct is up 2% in reported major crime with 1,088 crimes reported this year versus 1,064 last year at the same time. Part of this increase of 24 crimes can be attributed to 20 incidents reported in the subway system, which covers the western end of the precinct. Only 6 major crimes were reported in the subways at the same point last year. Robberies are up 15% with 178 reported this year versus 154 in 2011. The increase of 24 robberies are driven by the theft of electronic devices such as cell phones and mainly are occurring in the western end of the precinct. Felony assaults have also increased this year so far by 6% with 172 reported versus 162 in 2011. The increase in felony assaults is driven by issues related to domestic violence, with 84 such crimes reported thus far in 2012 versus 72 in 2011.

Burglary has also increased by 2% this year with 27 burglaries reported in 2012 versus 241 in 2011. There have been 23 reported burglaries in the Middle Village area this year, which is the same as last year. Grand larceny complaints have increased by less than 1% with 334 recorded this year versus 331 in 2011. This crime continues to be driven by cyber theft and credit card fraud as well as property left unattended. The final major crime category, auto theft, has decreased in the precinct this year by 14%, 146 autos have been reported stolen so far this year versus 169 in 2011. Arrests in the major crime categories have increased in some areas as well. Members of the 104th Precinct have made 81 robbery arrests so far this year versus over 70 in 2011. Burglary arrests have increased to 56 this year over 55 last year. Grand Larceny and auto theft arrests have increased also with 69 in these areas versus 64 last year.

Overall the summer has been a safe one in the confines of the 104th Precinct and officers are actively addressing crime as well as Quality of Life matters. I assigned extra officers to locations throughout the command in the days leading up to the 4th of July. This measure was taken to address firework related complaints and incidents. The enforcement operations resulted in several arrests and seizures of illegal fireworks. Officers assigned to 4th of July duty also arrested two individuals possessing a loaded firearm in the command. No firework related injuries were reported during the 4th of July weekend. Also, despite the increase in crime year to date, there has been only one shooting incident recorded in the command, which occurred outside the Juniper Park area.

I have continued to make Juniper Valley Park a priority in quality of life enforcement. Members of the 104th Precinct have conducted regular enforcement operations in and around the park focusing on disorderly groups and curfew violations. As of August 26th there have been 5 arrests and over 97 summonses issued for park curfew violations, alcohol possession and low level marihuana offenses in and around Juniper Valley Park. I will ensure that these operations continue and that the park remains a safe haven for the community.

The members of the 104th Precinct have also been active in addressing narcotic related conditions. The Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit conducted an investigation, which resulted in the execution of a Search Warrant in the South Middle Village area on August 14th. The investigation resulted in one arrest and the seizure of a significant amount of marihuana and drug paraphernalia. The unit also conducted another investigation on August 24th in Middle Village, which resulted in the seizure of a significant amount of heroin from a vehicle. These are two examples of the work that this unit does on an everyday basis in addressing narcotic complaints and street level drug use in the 104th Precinct.

As always I would like to share with the community some tips that can prevent people from being victimized by crime. I would like to focus on the issue of deception crimes or what are commonly known as confidence scams. This crime typically features the offender targeting a victim with a promise that seems too good to be true. Some confidence crimes involve those impersonating home improvement contractors or utility company officials. In these scams the criminal is looking to gain access to money or property. Most often victims are elderly or infirm. The crime involves usually more than one offender. They work as a team going door to door until they find a victim. The victim is sometimes asked for access to their house to examine a fictitious violation. Often they will ask to go upstairs or through the house sometimes telling the victim that it is unsafe to follow them. Once alone in a part of the house, they remove valuables and then flee. This crime can be prevented by always asking any person claiming to be a utility worker for proper identification, which is mandated to be carried, by Con Ed, Verizon and cable company workers.

Also door-to-door home contracting solicitors should never be allowed into the home if a person doubts their intentions. Finally, any suspicious activity should be reported to the police via 911 with as good a description as can be obtained. If you feel something isn't right trust your instincts and call the police. It is better to be safe than a victim.

Finally I wish to remind all in the Juniper Park community of the availability of Crime Prevention surveys and lectures. Police Officer Tom Barberio, the 104th Precinct Crime Prevention Officer, will conduct surveys of homes and businesses by appointment free of charge. He is also available to give lectures on crime prevention measures to any interested groups. He can be reached via email at: Thomas.barberio@nypd.org

Also as always I am available along with members of my staff for advice on any crime or quality of life related issue you may encounter. I wish all the best for a happy and healthy remainder of the summer. It will be my pleasure to meet with the community again this fall at the next JPCA meeting.