2017-01-25 / Front Page

Cops: Use Common Sense To Foil Car Crooks

By Liz Goff
Queens police officials are again urging motorists to stop making it easy for crooks to steal or vandalize vehicles.

Dep. Inspector Michele Irizzary, commanding officer of the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights, recently joined a chorus of commanders with a warning to motorists: “Don’t leave your car unattended and running. When you’re cleaning snow from your car, don’t leave it running and run inside your house, don’t double park your car and run into the bank or to a Dunkin’ Donuts.” Doing so makes your vehicle an easy target for car thieves, Irizzary said.

Over a 28-day period between December 20 and January 17, crooks swiped 20 vehicles in Jackson Heights, Corona and East Elmhurst – compared with just five stolen cars reported in the same time period I last year, Irizzary said. Six of those vehicles were left unattended and running when they were stolen, Jackson Heights’ top cop said. “Turn off your engine and take your keys with you when you walk away from your cay,” Irizzary said.

Motorists may think the city’s low crime statistics make is safe to walk away and leave your vehicle running, Irizzary said. That’s wrong, and leaving your keys in a running vehicle invites criminals to help themselves, she declared.

NYPD officials said the condition exists throughout Queens. “For some reason, people think it’s OK to leave their cars running when they’re not around,” officials said. “They don’t think, don’t realize that’s an open invitation for the vehicle to be stolen, even if the car is parked in their driveway”

Police officials at the 114th Precinct have repeatedly urged area motorists to remove all valuables before they park their vehicles and walk away.

Dep. Inspector Peter Fortune, commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, made several urgent pleas last year to motorists who insist on leaving electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones, other gadgets and wallets in clear view inside parked vehicles.

“We can’t leave our electronics, we can’t leave our wallets unattended in our cars, particularly when they are unlocked,” Fortune said. Doing so makes it too easy for thieves to enter vehicles, snatch valuables and run off before anyone realizes what they’ve done, Fortune said.

114th Precinct officials are eyeing the practice as a reason for a recent increase in grand larcenies in the command. Statistics show there were 14 grand larcenies in the area between September 26 and October 23, 2016, up from eight such incidents during the previous month. Thirteen of those crimes involved the theft of electronic gadgets and wallets from parked, unattended, often unlocked vehicles.

Fortune said auto-related crimes took a nosedive in the 114th Precinct last fall, after officers arrested a career criminal with a history of auto thefts

NYPD officials said auto-related crimes are on the rise throughout the city, most involving vehicles that are left unlocked, unattended and often running, by their owners. “People must understand that they cannot leave their cars unlocked, any more than they can leave home without locking their doors and windows,” a top-ranking NYPD official said. “You must lock your vehicle and take the keys, before walking away.”

“Some people think it’s safe to park unlocked cars in their private driveways, with phones, laptops, wallets – and even purses stashed on the floor,” police officials said. “Thieves aren’t shy about stealing cars or swiping valuables from unlocked cars, no matter where they’re parked.”

Fortune is urging the public to take advantage of a wide range of crime prevention programs offered free of charge by the NYPD by calling 114th Precinct Crime Prevention Officer Gabriel Tovar at 718-626-9324.







Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.