By Bianca Fortis
Capt. Christopher Manson, who has been with the 104th Precinct since January, said his and the 83rd Precinct in Brooklyn have been working together to stop a violent robbery pattern along the Ridgewood-Bushwick border.
At a news briefing last Friday, the captain said Eric Santiago, 19, along with a 15-year-old were arrested in connection with at least 11 robberies beginning April 20. The most recent one occurred June 2. The two suspects were charged with robbery; Manson said the pattern has quieted down after the arrests.
Manson said a group of two to five males, described as Hispanic, had been targeting individuals who are often intoxicated walking home in the early morning hours. The suspects then rob the victims, sometimes after punching them in the head, he said. They steal their personal items, including cell phones and jewelry, according to the captain.
He also addressed the June 3 double homicide in which a Ridgewood couple was murdered with a blunt object. There have been no arrests. Manson said the case was being investigated, but he would not provide any other details.
In other news from the precinct, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth, he said crime in the precinct is down 7.1 percent from this time last year. Burglaries are down 11 percent while robberies are down 15.5 percent, he said. There have been eight rapes this year compared to seven last year, and three murders this year, compared to zero this time last year.
In the realm of traffic, there have been 1,877 automobile accidents so far, which is an increase of 9 percent from last year. Manson said there have been 111 DWIs so far, compared to 88 last year, an increase of 36 percent. There have been three pedestrian deaths, which were all determined to be the fault of the pedestrian.
Manson said the precinct uses special operations to target a specific traffic issue — texting.
Officer Otoniel Jimenez, who works in community affairs, said it used to be alcohol that was the biggest concern for driving safety, but now it is cellphones.
Manson said there is not one particular age group that sends texts while driving.
“It’s everyone,” he said. “It’s not a particular age group or sex or race.”
The development in technology has been a significant problem for law enforcement, Manson said. Electronic devices cause distractions while driving, but they have also led to increased thefts of individual items.
“It happens everywhere,” Manson said about the thefts. “It can happen here or it can happen in a little town in Missouri.”
Manson said the thefts would decrease if people paid more attention to their surroundings or took simple steps to secure their possessions, such as not leaving valuables in open sight in an unlocked car.
“You’d be surprised what could happen if people just used the slightest bit of common sense,” he said.
Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.