Index Crimes Rise In 108th Pct.
The 108th Police Precinct Community Council opened its May 29 meeting by reelecting its entire slate of officers, followed by 108th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Donald Powers, who reported that index crimes were up by one for the week ended May 24 (25 compared to 24 for the corresponding week of 2011) and by five for the year.
Burglaries were on the increase by 25 percent in that same period, Powers continued, numbering 120 in the precinct during the period from the beginning of January to the last week of May; in the same period of 2011, the number was 97. The gain in occurrences includes a gain in daytime incidents, he added. While it is true that the period when homeowners are away at work has always been the burglars’ opportunity time, currently there seems to be increased boldness on their part. Powers said there are now greater numbers of those who will simply try to pry their way through front doors rather than try to get in covertly through back doors or windows either in the back of a building or accessible from fire escapes. Many burglars are professionals who know their equipment, plan well and arrange good getaways, he added.
In reference to equipment, Powers related that the day before, on 51st Avenue near 63rd Street, a burglar was surprised by a householder trying to burn his way into the victim’s residence with an acetylene torch. The burglar fled immediately in a truck with a partner at the wheel. The truck driver was arrested that same night and during the next day, hours before the precinct community council meeting, the torch-bearing burglar was picked up, too. Powers said that when “the right guy” is apprehended, particularly on a burglary charge, the local rate of that particular crime drops immediately.
Carol Terrano, a Woodside resident, was looking for the arrest of the person or persons who committed what she said were nine break-ins in her neighborhood in late April and early May. There was one incident where a masked burglar climbed out a window in the sight of a few police officers, none of them as fast as he was in the subsequent chase.
Two men who were apprehended May 16 on a Woodside burglary charge were from the Rockaways. Three miscreants from Massachusetts were arrested May 10 while attempting a holdup on Roosevelt Avenue. A man broke into and looted an automated teller machine in Sunnyside. During the robbery, he had attempted to hide his face from the security camera, but a policewoman said he looked familiar because of his prominent nose. He was picked up in The Bronx and Patrol Officer Brian Ritto brought him back to the 108th Precinct.
A woman at the meeting asked Powers about an incident on 50th Street. The captain said he couldn’t find the incident she was talking about, but pointed out that the precinct handles 55,000 calls on 911 annually and must constantly assess the worth of them and any other reports that come in.
The audience saluted the captain and the rest of the command for curtailing, if not eliminating, drag racing on the streets where the 108th and 104th Precincts meet. Powers had some praise himself, for the 104th Precinct executive officer, citing his part in the cooperative effort to quell the speeding cars.