I hope that all in the Juniper Park Community enjoyed a happy Easter and Passover and as the spring season starts I would like to share with you some of the work that the 104th Precinct has been doing recently to address crime and quality of life issues. Additionally I would like to advise all in the community of some crime prevention tips and go over some of the programs the precinct has in place to help make the spring and summer a safe time for all.
The 104th Precinct is currently down 2% in major crimes as of May 15, 2012. Auto theft has decreased 35% with 72 autos reported stolen compared to 110 at the same time last year. Grand Larceny, the theft of property valued over $1,000.00, as well as credit card fraud and cyber theft related crime has decreased 4%. There have been 177 reported Grand Larceny incidents versus 185 at the same time last year.
The precinct has, however, experienced a rise in some crime categories thus far for the year. Robberies have increased in the precinct by 30%. There have been 96 reported robberies versus 74 at the same time last year. Burglaries have also increased by 4% with 119 reported incidents this year compared to 114 in 2011. Lastly, felony assault incidents have also increased 6% with 83 incidents compared to 78 in 2011.
An analysis of the crime increase reveals that the robberies are concentrated on the western end of the precinct. Also in almost 50% of the felony assault cases the victims are known to each other, primarily in domestic situations. The burglary complaints span most of the precinct with only 9 year-to-date reported in the Juniper Park area. There have been 62 arrests year-to-date for felony assault, followed by 50 arrests for robbery and 32 arrests for burglary made by members of the precinct.
The 104th Precinct has also received support from the Borough Command with additional resources to combat the rise in crime. The Borough Task Force, Conditions, and Auto Larceny Units have been deployed in the 104th Precinct recently in areas where crime is prevalent. As part of my plan to integrate crime and quality of life conditions, I have also directed these resources into the Juniper Park area to serve as a deterrent for criminality as well as an increased uniform presence.
I am also pleased to report that as of May 7th, 15 new Police Officers have joined us here at the 104th Precinct. These officers have been re-assigned from various parts of the city, and arrive with some street experience, having been on foot patrol in high crime areas for the past 18 months. I developed, in conjunction with my command staff and members of the community, a 3-day orientation program for the new officers.
This program consisted of an overview of the complex precinct boundaries, briefings on current crime conditions, points of interest and a breakdown of the diverse neighborhoods in the precinct. The officers were personally addressed by me and made aware of the command’s crime fighting mission. I also spoke of the bonds I have developed with the local civic associations and my expectations for these officers to be responsive to community needs. I have deployed the new officers on patrol where I am confident they will make an immediate impact on crime and quality of life in the 104th Precinct. Additionally, I will ask the new officers to attend a Juniper Park Civic meeting when their schedules permit.
The men and women of the 104th Precinct have been busy since I last had a chance to speak to the Juniper Park Community. In early April, I received information regarding vandalism incidents as well as curfew violations in and around Juniper Valley Park. Working with the Parks Department and the Juniper Park Civic Association, the vandalism incidents were documented and a plan developed to address this condition. Members of the precinct patrol force and Conditions Unit have conducted operations in the park, resulting in several arrests for curfew violations. Additionally, I have my Lieutenants focus on traffic operations in the area targeting aggressive drivers, derelict vehicles and overnight restricted parking. These operations have also been successful. We will continue to pay attention to this area and send a positive message that such conduct will not be tolerated as spring progresses into summer.
Also on April 16th, a local youth was apprehended in the area of Juniper Valley Park South and Dry Harbor Road by patrol units for the robbery of an iPhone. The arrested individual had previous incidents in the community and the incident underscores the importance of vigilance when using electronic devices. On April 29th, Captain John Travaglia, the 104th Precinct Executive Officer supervised a Drag racing enforcement operation in the Maspeth area which resulted in several arrests. Most notably, vehicles were also seized in this operation, and I am directing that similar unannounced operations be repeated in areas of the 104th Precinct to fight the scourge of drag racing.
The 104th Precinct continues to be successful in the area of graffiti enforcement and clean-up. Lieutenant James Lombardi, the precinct’s Special Operations Lieutenant, capably leads the graffiti program. Officer Justin Dambinskas is tasked solely with tracking graffiti violators and investigations as well as clean-ups. There have been 791 graffiti complaints and tips recorded in the precinct since January 1st. Currently I am proud to say that the 104th Precinct leads the city with a total of 174 graffiti arrests. The arrests span the command boundaries and certainly include the Juniper Park area. Working with civic groups and elected officials, Officer Dambinskas has scheduled and completed 491 clean-ups so far this year. The hard work and dedication in combating graffiti conditions has been recognized outside the precinct as well. I am happy to report that the 104th Precinct will soon be receiving a power washer, which will greatly enhance our clean-up operations. As always graffiti complaints and clean-up issues may be directed to Officer Dambinskas at:
As we move into the summer I would like to briefly mention some crime prevention tips. As the warm weather arrives, people tend to bring out yard furniture and accessories as well as tools to do spring clean-ups. Please take the time to securely lock your sheds, garages and keep unused tools out of public view as my analysis of property crime complaints disclose that unattended tools are often stolen.
Also unlocked windows create an easy opportunity for a burglar. Please secure windows when not at home and if you are on vacation or away from home, may I suggest that you have a neighbor or relative stop by your home to ensure all is well. Additionally, identity theft continues to be a trending crime, particularly at ATM machines. Please be cognizant of your surrounding at an ATM and be wary of anybody looking to record your PIN number surreptitiously.
Also look at the ATM before you use it. Hackers have attached devices known as “skimmers” to such locations in order to take identifying data from your ATM card. Such devices can look authentic and are often placed on bank ATM machines. Lastly, try to use your ATM at reputable locations and avoid the curbside and convenience based machines which tend to be at delicatessens, gas stations and grocery stores. Some reports of identity theft have been traced to such machines. The best bet is, if something looks wrong, it probably is. Immediately inform the police of suspicious conduct. The 104th Precinct offers free crime prevention services such as security surveys, lectures, and Vehicle / Electronic Device etching. These services can be accessed by contacting Police Officer Thomas Barberio, our Crime Prevention Officer. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would also like to go over some other programs the precinct offers. The Auxiliary Police program is up and running. I have recently named Officer Charles Sadler as the program co-coordinator. Members of the community over the age of 17 may participate with certain requirements necessary. Officer Sadler may be contacted for further information at (718) 386-3674. Also the Law Enforcement Explorer program offers a dynamic opportunity for youth over the age of 14 to participate in community events and gain an overview of police operations. This program is run by Police Officer Laura McCormack and she may be contacted at: (718) 386-2486.
In closing as always I would like to thank the members of the Juniper Park community on behalf of all members of the 104th Precinct for your continued support. It is an honor and pleasure to serve as the Commanding Officer of the 104th Precinct. I enjoy the opportunity to share a few words about the precinct with you. If anybody in the community wishes to contact me I may be reached at email@example.com. You may also contact Police Officers Thomas Bell or Otoniel Jimenez of the Community Affairs unit as well at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
My best wishes for a happy and safe spring and summer season. I will be looking forward to meeting the community at the next Juniper Park Civic Association Town Meeting, which is on June 14, 2012 at Our Lady of Hope School in Middle Village.