2017-08-09 / Front Page

Cops Issue Warnings To Curb LIC Car Break-Ins

By Liz Goff
Police at the 114th Precinct are continuing to warn motorists to remain alert and lock their car doors before they walk away for the night or stop to make a quick purchase.

Cops said more than a dozen car break-ins have been reported in the Dutch Kills and Long Island City neighborhoods in recent weeks, involving thieves that break car windows or take advantage of unlocked vehicles to steal electronic devices, cell phones, cash and other valuables left in plain sight by motorists.

Precinct officials said up to 16 such incidents have been reported in the last two to three weeks, between 36th Avenue and Queens Plaza North and 29th Street to Vernon Boulevard.

Precinct officials have been warning motorists since July 2016, through news outlets and social media, to make sure vehicles are locked when not in use. Officers have also been leaving flyers on vehicles parked in the affected area that warn, “Don’t Be A Victim! Lock Your Car, Take Your Keys, Remove Your Belongings,” precinct officials said.

“People are still leaving their wallets, watches, computers and work items on the front seat and in the glove compartment of their vehicles. We’re just trying to make sure the public remembers.”

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

Police officials said the condition exists throughout Queens. “For some reason, people think it’s OK to leave their cars unlocked and running when they’re not around, They don’t think, don’t realize that’s an open invitation for the vehicle to be stolen, whether the vehicle is parked outside a bank, a coffee shop, or in their own driveway.”

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,” officials said. “You must lock your vehicle and take the keys with you when you walk away. Thieves aren’t shy about stealing cars or swiping valuables from any unlocked car.”

Police officials are urging the public to call the Crime Prevention officer at their local precinct to take advantage of a wide range of crime prevention programs available free of charge, including programs deigned to curtail auto-related crimes.

Statistics show that overall crime has plummeted almost 14 percent in the 114th Precinct in the first half of 2017, compared with the same time period in 2016 – despite the recent rash of auto related crimes. Grand larcenies were down just over seven per cent in a 28-day period ending July 30, compared with the same time period in 2016.

That number rose by more than 45 percent between July 24 and July 30, an increase that can be directly attributed to the auto larcenies, police officials said. “Police throughout Queens require help from the public to increase the safety of their vehicles,” officials said. “The public can help to secure the safety of their vehicles by following some common sense tips and working with police at local precincts.”

Police at the 114th Precinct are urging the public to contact the Crime Prevention Office at 718-626-9324 or the Community Affairs Office at 718-626-9327 for information on free auto crime prevention programs offered by the NYPD.

Police are also urging anyone with information on the recent auto break ins to call the CrimeStoppers HOTLINE or click on www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

















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