By Madina Toure
The 109th Precinct, whose area includes downtown Flushing, College Point, Whitestone and Bay Terrace, has already seen a decrease in crime since the new year began.
At the 109th Precinct Community Council’s monthly meeting last week, Deputy Inspector Thomas Conforti said crime is down 39 percent, equating it to more than 75 people “that haven’t been victimized this year that were victimized last year.”
Although he expects those numbers to even out over the course of time, he hailed the decline as an achievement.
“In every single major category, we’re down substantially,” Conforti said. “I hope this trend continues. I know that it will start to uptick a little bit, but I want to thank everyone for their cooperation.”
He credited the precinct officers for their hard work but also said a significant contributing factor was the partnership with the community, saying that both he and the officers need the community’s help.
“I can’t do my job and they can’t do their job without everybody here in this audience and there is a partnership, whether it be a 911 call, let’s say there’s a guy acting suspicious,” he said. “I can’t stress enough that the partnership is great between us.”
Last year, the precinct recorded a 5 percent decrease in crime for the entire precinct, which translated into about 120 people who were not victims this year compared with the previous year, Conforti said.
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) also attended the meeting. He commended the work of the 109th and 111th precincts.
“He has taken the 109 on a road trip and we’re very appreciative of that, so now we get to see beyond Flushing because even though we are kind of north Flushing, you’ve got Whitestone, you’ve got College Point,” Vallone said. “109, to me, is probably one of the most challenged precincts because it’s so huge, what they have to cover.”
Conforti said that auto break-ins are currently the biggest crime issue in the area, saying that vandals get into people’s cars by pulling on the door handles and opening unlocked car doors.
He also said the NYPD’s Financial Crimes Task Force is working closely with Flushing Savings Bank to determine the cause of a series of hacking sprees that have affected about 140 customers.
The precinct wants to work to prevent crimes from recurring, he said.
“Crime is at a historic low, but we don’t want the crime to come back,” Conforti said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour