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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The 109th Precinct’s former commanding officer visited Whitestone this week and gave some crime prevention tips to the community.

Inspector Thomas Conforti served as the 109th Precinct’s commanding officer from Oct. 2014 until April of this year, when he was reassigned to the NYPD Crime Prevention Division in Manhattan as its new commanding officer. Conforti spoke at the Nov. 16 We Love Whitestone civic meeting about some citywide and local crime trends that have posed a problem to residents.

The inspector explained that his unit examines trends that they see emerging or continuing citywide within a six month period. According to Conforti, one trend that continues to be a problem citywide are telephone scams.

“The numbers are unbelievable in a sense,” Conforti said. “Just so far this year in New York City, over 1,000 people have been victims and it’s come to cost a whole $1.5 million that people have lost.”

Conforti said his unit will be rolling out an intensive ad campaign in the coming weeks aimed at informing residents about how they can best protect themselves from these telephone scams. Conforti reminded attendees to be extremely wary of any callers requesting payment in the form of purchased iTunes or Amazon gift cards.

Another crime trend Conforti warned residents about are the mail fishing scams, which began in the Bronx but have begun to travel to surrounding boroughs, including Queens.

Conforti encouraged all residents who use U.S. Postal mailboxes to pay their bills to use a Uniball 207 pen when filling out their checks. The pen’s gel ink sets into the paper and is extremely difficult to remove using thieves “check washing” technique of choice.

“It has pigmented ink,” Conforti said. “Something as simple as a pen can stop that crime totally.”

Prior to his presentation, Inspector Conforti was presented with a plaque of appreciation by the civic group for his service as 109th Precinct commanding officer.

“There are founding members of the We Love Whitestone civic,” civic president Alfredo Centola said. “I always count Inspector Conforti as one of the founding members because he was there from the very beginning.”

Conforti also received awards and proclamations from Councilmen Paul Vallone and Peter Koo, Assemblymen Edward Braunstein and Michael Simanowitz, and state Senator Tony Avella.

Photo: George Mirtsopoulos, We Love Whitestone

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