I want to thank Mr. Robert Holden and the Juniper Park Civic Association for giving me this opportunity to address some issues, especially as we approach the Holiday Season.

I am very happy to report that crime continues to drop in all the major categories. Unfortunately there are periodic increases here and there which we continue to address with redeployment of personnel. I know that statistics and raw numbers are no consolation to the last victim of a crime and I am sorry for that.

As everyone from Queens knows, Grand Larceny Auto is always a problem. I do not want to be premature, but I can say we are on a downward trend. The crime of Grand Larceny still remains in the plus column and always lingers as such through the Holidays. Basically, Grand Larceny occurs when property is removed from a person, i.e. pickpocket, the value of the property exceeds $1,000.00 or the property taken is a credit card. Often women shopping leave their pocketbooks on top of strollers or in carriages and they are taken. If inside the bag is a credit card,then a Grand Larceny has occurred. Pick- pockets work throughout the Holiday Season. Keep your money in a front pocket area, pickpockets do not want you to see their face. Do not let yourself be crowed or perhaps bumped. Pickers work in teams. One bumps you and as you turn to face the “rude” person, a second person picks your pocket and then passes your property off to a third person. Thanks to the Juniper Park Civic Association we will be able to post warnings throughout the Command as a reminder to be alert.

An area which we have targeted with the same type of strategy style as crime is Traffic Safety. One goal for 1998 was to reduce the number of traffic accidents, injuries and deaths. The key to this lies within the three E’s; education, engineering and enforcement.

A team approach to safety education utilizing lectures, fliers and demonstrations will be utilized to educate both pedestrians and drivers. We want to help the public to protect themselves from injury using the same format that we utilize in crime prevention. Monthly traffic stat meetings are held following the principles of our existing COMPSTAT (Computerized Statistics) meetings on crime. Captain Michael Faranda, 104 Precinct Executive Officer, is in charge of Traffic Safety. Utilizing safety check points, seat belt initiatives and other criteria for determining accident prone locations pedestrian deaths were reduced from twelve (12) in 1997 to one (1) in 1998. There were two (2) drivers who died; one had a heart attack and another crashed into the wall at Maurice avenue when he apparently fell asleep. The other ripple effect of the check points I believe, is the reduction in Grand Larceny Auto.

I want this Holiday Season to be safe, healthy and crime free. You have my commitment that members of the 104 Precinct will continue to do their job. I just ask that as responsible citizens you help us help you. Do your part by utilizing good judgment, good lighting and heightened awareness. Safety is a joint partnership. If you have any questions regarding crime prevention please feel free to call Police Office Steven Benvegna at 718-386-6223.