Burglary Rash Bugs Comet

Police Say They’re Working To Stop Break-Ins

Several neighborhoods have been hit by burglars in the last month, law enforcement officials stated during the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) meeting held on Monday, Mar. 3, in Elmhurst.

The commanding officers of the 104th and 108th precincts-Captains Christopher Manson and Brian Hennessy, respectively-attended the session at Bethzatha Church of God and provided an overall update on local crime issues.

Manson told attendees burglaries have become a major issue in his precinct. He added that though crime was down overall in 2013, several offenses including grand larceny and graffiti are on the rise in the first two months of the new year.

“Crime was down last year,” Manson said. He then added, “until this week we we’re doing better.”

He told the group, “there is a terrible burglary problem going on right now in your area. And some could be a part of a pattern.”

Responding to concerns from residents, Manson vowed to use his power and resources to make their streets safer.

“Every available body I have is going to your area,” he said.

Manson then gave an update on his precincts response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” Traffic initiative and the rise in graffiti in the area.

“Vision Zero” is Mayor’s de Blasio’s plan to eliminate pedestrian deaths in the city through various traffic enforcement and communitybased measures.

“We’re going to focus summonses on areas that will impact safety the most,” Manson said. These measures include more summonses for speeding and red light violations, and increased ticketing for drivers talking on cell phones.

Both the 104th and 108th precincts have made combatting intoxicated driving a top priority.

As for graffiti, Manson told the group it may be more prevalent this year, or more noticeable because the significant amount of snow this winter prevented “normal year-round graffiti removal.” He added that residents should notice more painted over as the weather warms.

Hanson told the group of one infamous tagger that was sentenced to a six month term at Rikers island for spray painting.

“We do lock up people,” Manson said.

Hennessy then gave an update on crime for the month of February in the 108th Precinct.

The captain reported making 31 DWI arrests last year, mostly along the high-traffic Queens Boulevard corridor.

He said it has mostly been a quiet month at his command, but warned that with warmer weather also comes more people out, and that can lead to increased crime.

Several residents raised concerns over illegal drag races on the streets of their communities.

Responding to a question from a member of the group, Hennessy related a way he and fellow officers made several arrests at a drag race in the past.

He said a major problem was that the precinct would get calls a race was happening, or about to start, send officers to the scene, but everyone would be gone by the time police arrived.

To be effective and not alert them to their presence, Hennessy and fellow officers dressed in plain clothes, and wore hooded sweatshirts to blend in and proceeded to write down the license plate numbers of the people assembled at the location.

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The Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) is a civic association which meets on the first Monday of every month, except in January, July and August. Meetngs are held at the Bethzatha Church of God, located at 85-20 57th Ave. in Elmhurst.

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