2017-12-06 / Front Page

108th Police Precinct Community Council Talks Crime Prevention During Holidays

By Thomas Cogan
At the 108th Police Precinct Community Council meeting for November, a Cop(s) of the Month ceremony, a crime report, a talk by a crime prevention officer and the usual holiday season warning about protecting your valuables were all taken care of at Sunnyside Community Services, within a half-hour’s time.  Such brevity was fine for Commander Captain Ralph Forgione, who had other business to tend to and left in a hurry once the meeting was ended.

He started with the Cop of the Month awards, which went to three officers, only one of whom was present.  The commander is still reviewing meritorious action displayed during this past summer.  The incident handled by the three officers occurred Friday, August 18 at 3:30 in the afternoon, when they were called by a man that police are generally familiar with, who told the officers that he had been mugged and robbed by someone with a portentous name, Heavy, who the commander said is a known drug dealer. 

The alleged crime victim led the officers to where he believed Heavy could be found.  When all arrived, the officers quickly agreed the scene did not look good and perhaps the victim was more a collaborator; so as a precaution they handcuffed and detained their complainant and found and apprehended Heavy, then arrested both.  At the meeting, Patrol Officer John Miszuk accepted the awards for himself and the absent officers, Sergeant Mateusz Tkaczuk and Detective Bryan Quinn.  Capt. Forgione said that Miszuk is in training to be a detective himself.

The commander zipped through the crime report, saying that for the year it represented a general decline in criminal activity in the precinct.  That was not to glide over the report of two rapes, which he said appeared to be domestic incidents.  He did say that two of the index crimes, burglary and grand larceny auto, which have been local sore points over the years, are dropping fast  Still, he had to tell the story of one car theft.  A local businessman reported that one of his employees had had his car stolen, but had to include the all-too-familiar reason why:  he’d left his keys in the ignition slot. There was some information about who the thief might be, which when it was checked out proved to be true.  The thief was arrested and the car was returned to an owner who might have felt both grateful and penitent.   

Sgt. Tom Morales was at the meeting to promote the block watcher program, which he said lets ordinary citizens be the “eyes and ears” of the police. It requires only an hour’s training and every trainee gets a number, good only for the local precinct, he further explained.  He used the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, CA in December 2015 as an occurrence that might have been made less violent than it could have been because neighbors of the shooters gave the police information that helped them track the couple down after they had fled the shooting scene.

He handed out NYPD crime prevention books, both the standard book and the senior citizens’ version, which comes in a tote bag that contains such devices as a Uniball 207 pen, which is useful for writing checks with ink that “fishing” thieves, taking mail from mailboxes, cannot “wash” from stolen checks before substituting their own figures on them; or a personal alarm that can be set off by pulling it apart to produce a screech meant to shock and repel potential molesters.  As for the tote bag, it has reflecting stripes on it that at night can indicate to automobile drivers that a bag carrier is crossing the street.

Finally, the holiday warning, issued by P.O. José Torres.  Pickpockets and purse grabbers are doing their Christmas shopping too, he said, so don’t be careless with your property, and may your days be merry and bright.

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