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104th Precinct takes steps to fight recent rise in crime

104th Precinct takes steps to fight recent rise in crime
By Bianca Fortis

Crime in the 104th Precinct has increased 27 percent within the 28 days before Sept. 20, the precinct’s captain, Christopher Manson, said last week.

Manson, who shared the latest crime statistics at a media briefing last week, said most incidents have been robberies. There were 31 robberies within those 28 days, and most of them took place in Ridgewood.

Manson said the numbers are primarily driven by two types of crimes: scams and phone snatching.

The scams involve a thief calling the victims over the phone and tricking them into sending money. Often the thief will say the victim’s relative is being held hostage and will be shot if the victim does not send money. In some cases, the thief will say the victim’s relative is in jail and needs money to post bail.

Manson said there had been approximately 10 of these incidents within the last three weeks.

“No one has sent them any money,” he said. “It’s just absolutely ludicrous.”

When reported to the police, those incidents are categorized as grand larceny by extortion, Manson said.

As for the phone snatching crime pattern, Manson said a group of Hispanic males, who have been described as being between the ages of 15 and 19, will ride around on bicycles and approach a distracted victim from behind. The victim may be texting or talking on a cellphone, often an iPhone. The snatcher then grabs the phone from the victim and rides away on the bike. The pattern has affected both Queens and Brooklyn.

Manson said car break-ins are up as well. Too often, he said, victims leave valuables in plain view in their cars.

In one recent incident, a victim’s $300 wallet, which held several credit cards and $500 in cash, was stolen. In another case, a GPS valued at $200 was taken. In other incidents, book bags, a $170 pair of Ray Ban sunglasses and a Sony digital camera were stolen as well, Manson said.

“We’ve seen an increase in the car break-ins,” Manson said. “They take what they can get. Please don’t leave anything valuable in your cars.”

Manson said despite the rise in numbers, overall crime for the year to date is still down 6.3 percent.

And to address the recent increase, the precinct will send out about 20 additional officers to caravan through the precinct and make stops and patrol specific areas for about two hours.

They have also dispatched auxiliary officers to public parks and areas throughout Ridgewood, Manson said.

“We’re calling in extra manpower,” he said. “We’re combating these things. We don’t just let it slide by.”

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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