I hope everyone in the Juniper Park community enjoyed a happy and safe holiday season. As the new year moves forward, I would like to share with you some of the work that the members of the 104th Precinct have been doing to address crime, as well as, the quality of life conditions in your neighborhoods.
The 104th Precinct ended 2011 with a 1.5% decrease in reported crime versus 2010. Robberies were down 1.5%, burglaries fell 10.7% and auto theft decreased 29.9%. The command did record a rise in felony assaults of 10.7%. This increase was due in part to the enactment of new laws making strangulation a felony offense. Grand Larceny, the theft of property valued over $1,000.00, as well as certain cyber-related crimes and credit card theft also rose 26.7% for the year. Overall the 104th Precinct recorded 1,747 felonies in 2011. There was one shooting incident recorded, which was quickly solved by arrests.
I have developed a plan to continue to reduce crime within the 104th Precinct in 2012 which includes strategies to directly address the categories of crime that increased in 2011. I have placed a focus on addressing domestic violence related issues, which accounted for the majority of the felony assaults. A detailed Grand Larceny Prevention Plan has also been developed, targeting thefts from autos as well as unattended property. An emphasis is also being placed on addressing low-level offenses which affect the quality of life in the community.
Some recent notable arrests and operations have been made by members of the 104th Precinct as well as the support units that come into the area. In late December 2011 members of the Conditions Unit conducted operations at businesses in the Juniper Park area which have traditionally sold alcohol to minors. This operation targeted 18 locations, and 12 of them were cited for selling alcohol to an underage person. We will conduct follow-up at these locations.
On February 1, 2012, an individual was apprehended by the precinct’s late shift with the aid of several citizens for vandalizing locations with graffiti in and around Middle Village. The individual arrested was charged with 16 counts of criminal mischief. Another local graffiti vandal was apprehended in Middle Village on February 8 after the Conditions Unit noticed his graffiti “tag” and conducted a field investigation. The 104th Precinct leads the city with 79 graffiti arrests so far this year. We also work closely with civic leaders in helping to clean up graffiti and 125 cleanups have been conducted since January.
Enforcement of the park regulations in and around Juniper Valley Park has also been productive in no small part due to the unusually mild winter. Members of the 104th Precinct have issued more than 25 summonses within Juniper Valley Park and made 7 low level marijuana and narcotic arrests in the area around the park.
Lastly, on February 17th members of the Queens Borough Auto Larceny team were deployed in the area of Woodhaven Boulevard and Penelope Avenue in response to recent thefts of automobile parts and accessories. They conducted surveillance of an individual who was tampering with parked autos. A subsequent field investigation led to the arrest of this individual and the recovery of tools used to commit these crimes. Property was also recovered.
Since the beginning of 2012 felony assaults in the Precinct are down by 13%, burglaries by 11%, Grand Larceny by 9% and 17% in auto theft. Robberies, however, have increased by 95%. While this is disturbing, it can be attributed to several factors, among them the mild winter and a low number of robberies which occurred in the previous snowy winter of 2011.
There have been 39 robberies thus far in the precinct versus 20 in the same period in 2011. Six of them are bank robberies for which an arrest was made on February 6th. The robberies are concentrated on the west end of the precinct. I have developed a plan to address the increase in these crimes; a major part of it includes education and prevention.
Electronic devices such as cell phones, iPads and iPods are properties that are being targeted in robberies. To avoid being a victim, you should limit the use of these items when you are walking in unfamiliar areas or late at night. Know your surroundings and be aware of suspicious behavior. It is easy to become distracted while texting or listening to music and this creates an easy opportunity for a thief. Finally, use your intuition. If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. Report suspicious persons, vehicles or behavior to the police via 911. As always, the 104th Precinct Crime Prevention Office offers a free service to etch electronic devices for tracing if stolen. Also, many Apple products have a finder feature which has been incorporated into our investigative steps in stolen property cases.
I appreciate the opportunity to inform the Juniper Park community of what is going on in the area and look forward to speaking at the next COP104 meeting. I am always available for questions and concerns, as is my staff. It is a pleasure to serve you.