Murders fall in 109th as assault rate climbs

Photo by Joe Anuta
By Joe Anuta

Murders, rapes and car thefts in the 109th Precinct are down drastically from last year, while burglaries, assaults and robberies increased, according to Capt. Tommy Ng, executive officer at the Flushing station house.

Ng announced the statistics at the monthly 109th Precinct Community Council meeting last week, where board members also hoped to locate the owners of a well-behaved dog that was lost during Superstorm Sandy and brought to the precinct, which covers neighborhoods including Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace.

The friendly grey pup, which board member Vana Partridge believes is possibly a 4-year-old miniature schnauzer and poodle mix, might belong to a family living near Bowne Park. It was found near the corner of Union Street and 35th Avenue.

Until the pooch is claimed, Partridge has taken the canine into her own home, where it goes by the NYPD-coined nickname of Stewie.

Anyone who recognizes the wayward animal can call the precinct at 718-321-2254.

At the meeting last week, Ng warned residents not to make it easy on criminals.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” Ng told the council members after reporting an uptick in thefts of cellphones from female residents as they walked around downtown, sometimes after a physical confrontation.

Deputy Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer of the 109th, has described iPhone users who whip out their smartphones on dark Flushing streets as creating a “beacon” for criminals.

So far in 2012 there have been 234 robberies, which generally require the use of force to remove property, up from 223 at this time last year, an increase of about 5 percent, according to NYPD crime statistics.

There have also been 229 felony assaults this year, up from 206 last year, an increase of 11.2 percent, according to the statistics.

The largest increase in crime has been in the burglary category, which rose by nearly 18 percent. Last year there were 321 burglaries in the 109th, while this year there have been 378.

Maguire has repeatedly urged residents to lock their doors and take out their window air-conditioning units after the summer.

Many homeowners in quieter parts of the precinct like Whitestone or College Point get lulled into a false sense of security, which lends itself to burglary crews who come from outside the area to take advantage.

But murders in the precinct fell by 50 percent. Last year, eight people were murdered, while this year that number was four.

Rapes also fell dramatically, dropping from 17 at this time last year to nine this year, a decrease of about 47 percent.

There have been 183 incidents of stolen cars so far this year, according to the crime stats, down 199 percent when compared to 226 last year. The most common cars stolen in the precinct are Ford Econoline vans, according to Maguire.

Arrests in the precinct fell by 3.5 percent, from 4,918 last year to 4,745 this year, according to statistics.

Ng also warned residents to be on the lookout for imposters pretending to be utility workers in order to gain access to people’s homes and briefed residents on the heroin bust in Whitestone first reported by TimesLedger Newspapers.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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