In the first crime report of the new year, the commanding officer of the Flushing-based 109th Precinct said robbery, grand larceny and burglary would be the main focus of the command, which also covers areas of Bayside, Whitestone and College Point.
“Looking forward to 2017 — obviously we’re just a few weeks in — but we’re concentrating on robberies,” Deputy Inspector Judith Harrison said at the Jan. 11 meeting of the 109th Precinct Community Council.
Harrison explained that many robberies that occur within the precinct start off as shoplifting events or as grand larceny, where an individual steals property from another.
“The person is trying to retain their property, and there’s a struggle,” Harrison said. “That little bit of force is what elevates it to a robbery.”
Regarding burglaries, Harrison said the precinct’s crime prevention team has been reaching out to local civic associations and community centers to educate residents on how best to protect themselves from the crime.
“Getting alarms; changing your lighting systems or locks; getting bars on your windows,” Harrison said. “Avail yourself to some of these services.”
Grand larceny numbers also continue to be cause for concern for the commanding officer. Mail fishing, as well as identity theft and pickpocketing crimes, were main topics of discussion at two community council meetings last year.
“You can help us help you,” Harrison said. “The people that walk and leave their bags open, and people stick their hands in their bag and take their wallet. The people who leave their items unattended while they’re shopping … We saw some upticks in those types of crimes.”
While officers are working hard to educate the public on how best to protect themselves, Harrison said, the precinct does still need the public’s help getting the word out.
“Tell your neighbors; tell your friends; tell your family members,” Harrison said. “All of the tips you hear us tell you, share with the people you know so we can help drive that crime down.”
As for last year’s numbers, Harrison reported the precinct finished the year “slightly elevated” in crime. Crime was elevated in three categories, according to Harrison: robbery, assault and grand larceny.
“We were up 35 individuals crimes, and that put us up overall 1.9 percent,” Harrison said. “Not bad; but obviously, we want crime to be down … Grand larcenies made up just about 50 percent of our crimes.”