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Dial ‘T’ For Trouble: Kids Suffer From Cell Phone Thefts – QNS.com

Dial ‘T’ For Trouble: Kids Suffer From Cell Phone Thefts

By Helen Klein By Helen Klein

Be cautious with your cell phones, and be extra certain that your kids are careful with theirs. That’s the word from Inspector Robert Boyce, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct, who told members of Community Board 17, gathered at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 395 Lenox Road, that the precinct has seen an up-tick in robberies in recent weeks, as many youngsters toting desirable cell phones have been victimized by their peers. This has occurred, noted Boyce, in the face of a decrease in violent crimes. “Although we continue to have reductions in violence, shootings and homicides,” Boyce told his listeners, “we are experiencing a problem with robberies in the precinct. Basically, what this is, is juvenile on juvenile. They are taking cell phones from each other.” The problem occurs among not only high school age kids, but junior high school age kids as well, said Boyce, who said that kids have been victimized on their way to or from school. “To combat this,” said Boyce, the precinct has, “Brought in the four-to-12 early, and lined them up on Ralph Avenue,” where a major bus runs and near where there are several high schools, including South Shore, Tilden and Nazareth. “Since we did that, we made some key arrests,” Boyce went on. The situation, he added, had since, “Abated substantially.” Indeed, he noted, the use of a search warrant after the arrest of four individuals had, “Closed out about 14 cases. We believe they were responsible for the robberies committed on Church Avenue.” Nonetheless, Boyce had these words of wisdom for his listeners. ‘I would advise any parent who has a teenager, not to show their cell phone on their belt. It’s an invitation,” he stressed. The problem, Boyce added, is hardly confined to the 67th Precinct. Rather, calling it a “phenomenon citywide,” he noted that, “Because it’s such a phenomenon, we tend to take extra measures. We even brought in 70 police officers from outside the precinct and they are lining Church Avenue and those areas right there.” As for the decrease in shootings and homicides, Boyce stressed that an important element in that statistic was the precinct’s success in getting firearms off the street. “Today,” he told the crowd, ‘we collected about five guns from people in their homes. A gun in the house is a danger. Even if you think it’s an old relic, it can still hurt somebody.” Year to date, the 67th Precinct is down in five of the seven index crimes: Murder, rape, felonious assault, grand larceny and grand larceny auto. The murder statistics are especially striking, down 69.2 percent, compared with 2004, with four murders so far this year, compared with 13 last year at this time. The precinct is even in burglaries, with 213 so far through May 29th, the same as in 2004. The precinct is up 27 percent in robberies compared with 2004, with 230 as of May 29th, this year, compared with 181 at the same time last year. Residents of East Flatbush have had enough of speeding vehicles. At the June meeting of Community Board 17, which was held at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 395 Lenox Road, people living in the community complained about vehicles using area roadways as their raceways. Among the streets cited in particular were Beverley Road, Kings Highway and Remsen Avenue. Board members Josefina Johnson and Gloria Miller both pointed out the traffic problems in the Beverley Road Area. Indeed, noted Miller, “There is a four-way stop sign at East 53rd and Beverley. I was going east a couple of days ago, and it was under the grace of God that prevented a huge accident. Two cars came within inches. They are not stopping at that sign. It’s very dangerous.” Inspector Robert Boyce said that the 67th Precinct had stationed “speed traps throughout the precinct.” Several of the precinct’s officers, he noted, who are “Radar-gun qualified.” Boyce said that the precinct would direct enforcement at the problematic areas. In addition, he said, the precinct would request a traffic study of the intersection of East 53rd Street and Beverley Road, “To see if we might be better served with a traffic light.” Calford Scott complained about speeding motor bikes and scooters on Rutland Road, between East New York Avenue and East 92nd Street. “In summertime,” he said, “it’s a constant thing. They come down in droves,” he said, creating not only a hazard but a great deal of noise. “It’s started again. They start off on East New York, and make a big turn at miles per hour.” “We’ll direct some enforcement there as well,” Boyce said, noting that the scooters were, “Not being sold” in the city – a state of affairs that, he said, he expected to reduce the severity of the problem. “Last year,” Boyce told his listeners, “we received 75 motorized scooters in the precinct. I expect that to be a lot less this year, because they’re not being sold. I think you’re going to see a reduction this year and, if you don’t, we’ll step up our efforts.”

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