Crime Decline In ‘comet- Land’

Police Still Battling Various Grand Larcenies

Though major crimes continue to drop, burglaries, grand larcenies and reckless driving are still prevalent, police officials told the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) civic association at its monthly meeting Monday, May 5, at the Bethzatha Church of God in Elmhurst.

Capt. Tim Brown, executive officer of the 104th Precinct, told COMET that burglary and grand larceny continue to be a problem in the community, and while overall major crimes were down in April “Green Dot” Money Card scams reman prevalent.

According to Brown, there were five burglaries in the past month- the most notable being a McDonalds on 69th Street and Grand Avenue in Maspeth, where $3,000 in cash was removed from a register.

The precinct is also still getting many reports of Green Dot Money Card scams, Brown said.

His message to avoid these was simple: Ignore anyone that calls and asks demands payment of a bill over the phone through the use of a prepaid debit card.

These scams, according to police can take several forms; one uses a supposed call from a utility company or the IRS, others call claiming to be the police, then say they have a loved one in custody, or that was in an accident and in need of help.

They all have on thing in common, according to police–every one makes contact over the phone and asks the unsuspecting person to purchase a Green Dot Card, then call back with the account numbers to make payment and the money is drained by the perpetrator.

“The IRS is not going to contact you and ask you to send money,” Brown advised residents.

The same can be said for a friend or a relative in distress; scammers also claim to be from local utility companies.

“It’s happening a lot,” Brown said. “And it can happen to anybody,” he added. Brown advised the group to call their local precinct if they suspect such a scam, or have been harassed by suspected or potential perpetrators.

Brown also updated the group on hazardous traffic crimes in the area, which are down 11 percent total for the month, he said.

Occupant and pedestrian-related traffic injuries are also down, a significant 53 percent, according to Brown.

Following education of drivers in the precinct on traffic summonses, the NYPD has begun to step up enforcement, which is reflected in the drop, Brown remarked.

“The activity is represented in the in the numbers,” he said. And Brown assured COMET the precinct will continue to make issuing summonses for hazardous driving a priority, specifically for speeding, red light violations and failure to yield to pedestrians.

“50 percent of the traffic summonses were for hazardous (in the last month),” Brown said.

His plan to catch more speeders is to park an unmarked car, with no police identification on roads where people drive recklessly.

“I’m trying to get an unmarked car … to catch more speeders,” he said. “The amount of speeders is off the chart.”

110th Precinct update

Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson, commanding officer of the 110th Precinct also updated the group on crimes during the past month in that precinct, where there were only six crimes reported in the precinct’s confines in the 28 day period, he said.

“We’re doing very well,” Leyson said, in comparison with 11 crimes the month previous.

The precinct had a transit robbery, where a girls’ phone was stolen, two grand larcenies–one was a lost credit card that was used later, and the other for unauthorized eBay transactions totaling $2000, according to Leyson,

The woman that lost her credit card “realized she lost her wallet after she was out shopping,” he said.

Leyson advised to be wary of websites visited and advised, “when you have these accounts (online) you have to be very mindful.”

He also cautioned to always use a secure network while online, “never leave an open network,” or give out your password so perpetrators have the chance to steal your identity. “If someone needs the password, just give that person the password,” he added.

He also gave COMET an update on Green Dot scams, and said, “Like the Capt. (Brown) said, these scams are out of control. I have a woman that was bilked out of $30,000, it’s just horrible.”

“Nobody is legit if they are calling and asking for payments,” he said. He advised residents to call the precinct if they suspect they have been victimized, or even harassed by calls from people claiming to be from a utility company or the IRS.

“Don’t ever give up any identifying information over the phone” he cautioned, and reminded that even if no meny has been sent, the call alone warrants informing police because “the attempt of a crime is there,” he said.

The next COMET Civic Association meeting will be held June 2 at the Bethzatha Church of God, located at 85-20 57th Ave., in Elmhurst. All meetings begin at 7 p.m.