Happy holiday greetings to all members of the Juniper Park Civic Association; we hope everyone is staying safe as we make our way through the holiday season! We would like to take this opportunity to discuss some recent developments in the 104th Precinct, notably in Maspeth and Middle Village.

Major Index Crime
Major index crime in the 104th Precinct has increased by 2.7% this year as of November 19, 2023 compared to the same time last year (though there has been a decrease of 0.7% over the last month). In the Maspeth neighborhood (Sector C, which includes part of Ridgewood), we have an increase of 1.3%, with auto theft being the main driver of the crime increase in sector C, with an increase of 25.6% in auto thefts. Middle Village (Sector D) has an overall increase of 22.3% for the same year-to-date period. As in sector C, the driving crime is auto theft, which increased by 56.9% in Middle Village compared to last year.

If you own a Honda, Hyundai, or Kia vehicle, we highly recommend that you call the company and request a security upgrade (this is typically free). Auto theft is often a crime of opportunity, so don’t leave your running vehicle unattended for even a few seconds and do not leave your keys/key fobs inside or near the vehicle. These precautions can prevent your vehicle from being stolen. Remember, it only takes seconds for one to open your car door and drive away. We also recommend to invest in a steering wheel lock and to place a hidden AirTag in your vehicle so that we can track the vehicle in the event of a theft.

Utility Scam
The “Utility Scam” has remained a popular holiday fraud throughout the season. Utility Scam scammers falsely identify themselves as representatives of utility providers such as Con Edison or Spectrum, claiming that the utility bill is past due and that services will be terminated if an emergency payment is not made. Utility companies do not disconnect services over the phone; always review a recent bill and call customer care for the most up-to-date billing status. Criminals frequently prey on the elderly and operate during normal business hours, making the victim less likely to question the situation.

Pilot Program
I’m proud to announce that the 104th Precinct began to implement a new pilot program last month, which allows traffic agents to respond to parking violations reported to us via the 311 system. We have already begun to see decreases in our response times and I believe that this program will positively impact the neighborhoods of the 104th Precinct.

New Detective
Finally, I’m thrilled to announce that 104th Community Affairs Officer Michael Berish was promoted to the rank of DETECTIVE on November 21, 2023 (see photo, with Officer Bonilla). As all of you know, Detective Berish is a huge asset to both the 104th Precinct and all of the communities within the precinct. He is instrumental in all facets of the 104th’s successes. Congratulations, Mike, on your well-deserved promotion and thank you for everything you do each day!

Policing and community go hand in hand, and we know that we cannot achieve our common goal of crime reduction and increased public safety without your assistance. Thank you for the strong show of support that this community continues to demonstrate. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! If you have any concerns, please write or call the Community Affairs Office.