Overall Crime Decreases, Commander Says
Three recent arrests have reduced car thefts in the area, contributing to an overall crime drop, the 106th Precinct’s commander reported during the 106th Precinct Community Council meeting in Ozone Park last Wednesday, Oct. 8.
Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff said crime is “down in robberies, assaults burglaries, grand larcenies, grand larceny auto,” at the stationhouse last Wednesday night.
“Right now, as of this moment, we’re down 15 percent in crime for the month,” Schiff stated.
Though auto thefts continue, three arrests made since August have begun to stem the tide, according to the deputy inspector.
“Part of the problems that we are still having, I don’t think that we have combatted the vehicle thefts fully, just yet,” Schiff said.
But progress is being made, he noted, explaining the three collars were of suspects with different theft techniques.
One suspect that was arrested had a lengthy rap sheet, with 21 prior arrests for stealing cars in Queens, Brooklyn and Nassau County, according to police. This suspect was breaking car windows and stealing the vehicles, Schiff stated.
Another thief was “an opportunist,” the deputy inspector said: “He sees the car running, with the keys in the ignition, which usually is 30 percent of our steals, and he would hop in and take the car.”
The deputy inspector also said the precinct booked a man that was using his tow truck to steal vehicles.
“These three individuals, on three separate modus operandi, and now all of a sudden vehicle thefts start to drop. I think we hit the right group,” Schiff said.
“We’ve been having a problem with thefts of autos, (but) we’re down for the month, also just for the year,” he said. “Last month we were down 2 percent for the year, we’re almost down 4 percent for the year at this moment. We are heading in the right direction.”
“This is what I’m talking about, the hard work that the men and women of the 106th precinct do,” Schiff added.
Schiff spoke on the enforcement efforts leading to arrests and told attendees the work is paying off.
“Four weeks ago we wound up taking 10 vehicle thefts in one week,” he said. “That following week, we happened to lock up two individuals. And since the past three weeks, we’ve been down in vehicle thefts. Now what doss that tell us?”
“I think we might have arrested the right individuals, that’s what it tells me,” he added
The GreenDot Money card scam has not been a problem in the 106th Precinct since Schiff took over as the commanding officer nearly 18 months ago. He credited educating residents early on about the con artists as the reason residents were not as vulnerable and less victimized.
“Well it’s morphed, I wouldnt say thats going the way of the Dodo, but we in the 106th have done a very good job of identifying this problem,” Schiff said.
The precinct addressed the scam “early on, in October of last year, by educating the population by handing out flyers door to door to thousands of houses,” the deputy inspector stated: “Because we educated the community, we really haven’t seen a problem in this area, where the rest of the city is seeing a spike.”
“The 106th really doesn’t take that,” he added. “We took two or three in the past three or four months, so that’s good.”
Con artists were scamming victims by placing phony phone calls from purported utility companies, or the IRS, but the hustle has been altered, according to police. The endgame remains the same though, with crooks calling residents to frighten them into sending money which will be stolen.
“Education is key,” Schiff said. “And those people who reported it, some of them its was an attempt. They found out about the scam and they didn’t lose any money, but they still reported it to us.”
The only difference between the versions is the con artists were using the cards and have begun to ask for Western Union money transfers as the preferred method to pilfer, Schiff stated.
“Now what’s happening is that these individuals are starting to say your loved one has been involved in an accident, or your loved one has been locked up in whatever county in Georgia,” Schiff said. “In order to get this person out, you need to wire the money right away, via Western Union is generally the method that they want. A few people have fallen for that for a few thousand dollars.”
“Anybody that gets a call saying that your loved one is in some sort of need from a third party, (say) ‘thank your for the information’ and go verify it independently yourself. Just hang up, that’s what you need to do. It’s more likely that is a scam,” Schiff added.
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The 106th Precinct Community Council generally meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 8 p.m. at the 106th Precinct station, located on 103-53 101st St., in Ozone Park. For more information, call the 106th Precinct Community Affairs Unit at 1-718-845-2228.