Street Gang Crackdown

Crews Pose Problem For Cops In Corona

Residents heard about crime stats and Corona’s gang problems during the 110th Precinct Community Council meeting on Monday. Jan 20, at Flanders Field VFW Post 150 in Corona.

Police Officers Louis Gerlach (left photo) and Michael Johnston were named the 110th Precinct Community Council’s Cops of the Month for November and December. Gerlach helped collar a phone-snatching crew, and Johnston helped track down five men who mugged a pedestrian in Corona. Pictured flanking the officers are 110th Precinct Community Council President Evelyn De- Coursey and Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson, the precinct’s commanding officer. Cop of the Month plaques are donated by the Times Newsweekly.

“We do have some gang issues here in the 110th Precinct,” said Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson, who commands the precinct. “A couple of our shootings last year in 2013 had gang nexuses to them.”

Capt. Keith Shine, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Queens Gangs Unit, gave the council a brief update about gang conditions within the command.

Shine said that his unit assists precincts, including the 110th Precinct, in conducting gang operations. The two bureaus communicate on a weekly basis, he explained.

“We spend a lot of our time in the 110 Precinct, primarily because of the gang conditions that do exist,” he said .

Shine said two prominent area gangs are El Sureño (generally operating between 90th and 110th streets along Roosevelt Avenue) and ABK, which operates widely. There are several others, including the Latin Kings and MS-13, according to several published reports.

Gang members’ ages range from teens through the 30s, but most street crime is perpetrated by members in the 18-20 age range, he said, explaining that is a time when members seek to build a reputation.

There will be an in-depth presentation on area gangs at the council’s next meeting.

Cops of the Month

Two officers were honored for their police work.

P.O. Louis Gerlach was named the council’s November Cop of the Month for busting a cell phone snatching crew.

While on routine patrol, Gerlach observed a group of LeFrak City residents known to snatch phones, Leyson said. He followed and observed the crew, and, when one member snatched a phone from a local woman, Gerlach called it in and began pursuit, according to the deputy inspector, who noted the suspects were captured a short time later.

The council also honored P.O. Michael Johnston, who used his knowledge issues in the command to catch five robbery suspects.

While on patrol, Johnston broke up a group of disorderly men, Leyson said .

Later that night, a report came over the radio that five male Hispanics beat up a man and robbed him, according to Leyson. Johnston recognized the description and responded to the area they are known to congregate, stopping four of the five suspects.

When the victim described the fifth suspect, Johnston and his conditions team recognized the suspect by the victim’s description and effected a fifth arrest in the case.

Cop of the Month plaques are donated by the Times Newsweekly.

Crime update

Leyson also provided an update on violent crime in the area.

He said the precinct ended 2013 down 2 percent in crime, with significant reductions in most major categories.

Grand Larcenies ended higher in 2013 than in 2012, due in part to increasing smartphone thefts, Leyson explained.

“Grand Larceny is driving crime throughout the city,” he said.

In addition, 2013 saw more rapes in the command than in 2012. Leyson said most were domestic issues where the suspect was known to the victim, but he stated there were some stranger rapes. He explained that the definition of rape was recently expanded to include any attempt at tearing clothes off of a victim, causing a statistical rise in the crime.

As of press time, Wednesday, no rapes have been reported in the precinct, according to police records.

Most crimes are down for the 28- day period ending Jan. 12, but there have been significant upticks in auto thefts and burglaries.

Twelve cars have been reported stolen this period, with just six reported this time last year, police records show. Leyson said that, in three of the 12 recent car thefts, the victims left the cars running while they went into a store.

Leyson said he has instructed officers to begin ticketing drivers who leave their cars on and unattended for more than three minutes-a criminal offense-in order to cut down on crimes of opportunity.

There were 35 burglaries reported over this 28-day period and only 17 during the same period last year. The uptick stems from several burglary patterns in the precinct, he explained. There were four rear-entry break-ins in the northwest corner of the command on Dec. 6, and burglars broke into three apartments through a rear window on Van Kleeck Street in Elmhurst on Dec. 27, the commanding officer explained.

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The 110th Precinct Community Council meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at the Flander’s Field VFW Post #150, located at 51- 11 108th St. in Corona. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 17.

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