Meet the new CO of the 109th Precinct

After several weeks of meeting various civic and business groups and settling in to his new command, Deputy Inspector Brian Maguire, the new Commanding Officer of the 109th Precinct, sat down with The Queens Courier in his office in Flushing.

Q: What’s it like being commanding officer at the 109th Precinct?

A: It’s quite an experience. I came here from commanding Transit District 1 for 3 ½ years, which covers all the Manhattan trains between 42nd and 86th Streets on the west side. That was mostly pickpockets and robberies, whereas here the majority is property crimes like GLA [auto theft] and burglary.

The 109th is huge – 13 square miles – and it has every socio-economic level, from an urban core in downtown Flushing to upscale suburban areas like Malba. I spent the first couple of weeks just meeting with all the different civic groups – there are a lot of them with all the different countries and even regions.

Q: How were you received?

A: The Asian community called us. They were very welcoming. We had that fatal assault on a Chinese woman a week after I got here and a lot of people had seen me in the street so I wasn’t a complete stranger. Although there’s still some reluctance to interface with the authorities, it’s getting better. It was a concerned member of the public that called it in, but I can’t believe that there weren’t other people who heard her screaming.

Q: Was Queens a big shock after midtown Manhattan?

A: I started out as a cop in the 110th Precinct and I was a Lieutenant with the 114th [Detective] Squad in Astoria. Before that I worked as a Sergeant with the Crime Scene Unit in Chelsea. I hope to bring my experience to the 109th to help keep crime down.

Q: With the city’s crime numbers already low, how’s that going?

A: Actually, the city is down 1 percent and Queens is down 2 ½ percent, but the 109th Precinct is down 12 percent in crime from last year, which is a tribute to my predecessor [Deputy Inspector] Matty Whelan. When he left we were already down 9 percent. I want to build on his successes.

Q: How are you doing it?

A: We’re doing a lot to identify career criminals and patterns, because patterns usually mean it’s the same guys – and we’re always touching base with the 111th, 107th and 105th precincts because they move around. I’m also applying some of the things I learned last year at the Police Management Institute at Columbia University.

Q: Anything else?

A: Of course there’s the issue of traffic and construction. The Flushing Commons project is going to present some unique challenges because it’s right across the street and we used to use some of that space. The Department of Transportation is still working on traffic issues. This area is congested enough.

Q: Any message for the public?

A: First, if you see something suspicious call 9-1-1. You know who belongs on your block and who doesn’t. Lock your doors and windows when you go out. Lock your car. Keep track of your bag and your wallet. Don’t make it easy for criminals. And come out on National Night Out Against Crime on [Tuesday] August 3, at the Bowne School [142-30 Barclay Avenue in Flushing].