By Sarina Trangle
Capt. Christopher Manson said he was pleased crime dropped 4.3 percent in the 104th Precinct last year and planned to focus on cracking down on traffic violations as well as unruly park patrons in 2014.
The precinct, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth, reported 72 fewer major crimes, defined as murders, rapes, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries and grand larcenies.
“We had a good year and we’re going to continue it,” said Manson, commanding officer of the precinct.
The 104th Precinct responded to three murders this year, up from one in 2012.
The number of rapes remained flat at 15, according to CompStat.
Police reported 256 robberies, down 8.2 percent; 241 felony assaults, down 5.9 percent; 340 burglaries, down 12.8 percent; and 181 grand larceny of autos, down 13.8 percent.
Manson said identity theft drove up the number of grand larcenies, which are the theft of items worth at least $1,000. The 104th Precinct had 572 grand larcenies in 2013, up 8.1 percent.
Petit larceny, or theft of possessions valued at less than $1,000, accounted for the most crimes in the precinct, with 1,178 incidents.
Officers will focus on curtailing driving violations that can cause serious injuries or death, Manson said.
“We’re going to be targeting speeding, running red lights, failing to yield to pedestrians,” he said.
CompStat statistics showed the precinct arrested three people for driving while intoxicated and nine who did not have a valid license. The precinct handed out 13,749 parking summonses and 9,733 moving summonses in 2013.
Once the weather warms up, the captain said auxiliary officers will live in parks until October, he said. Highland Park, which straddles Ridgewood and Brooklyn overlooking the reservoir, will receive extra attention.
Manson said a couple who lives near the entrance to the park have complained about having to listen to park revelers party late into the night.
Technically, Highland closes at 9 p.m. The precinct intends to enforce the park’s hours by having officers remind people to begin packing up daily at 8:30 p.m.
Those who do not leave the park risk getting slapped with a summons. Nearly 23 percent of the 267 summonses issued by the 104th Precinct in the last month were given to those in parks after hours, according to Manson.
“Once it gets dark, a different element goes into the parks and that element tends to want to get intoxicated and play music loud,” Manson said. “That’s where you get the potential for fistfights.”
After 15 of 16 businesses sold alcohol to minors in a recent sting, Manson said police will continue to check up on vendors with liquor licenses.
Community Affairs Detective Thomas Bell said the precinct would apply for nuisance abatement orders, which temporarily close businesses, for a few bars and bodegas that have been caught selling alcohol to minors twice before.
“They can pay a fine or something to get their business back up after a certain amount of time,” Bell said. “They are pretty hefty. They could mean the end of your business.”
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.