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Tumbling crime numbers top 108th Precinct Council meeting in Sunnyside

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Crime plunged in the 108th Precinct over the last four weeks, the force’s commanding officer reported during Tuesday’s 108th Precinct Community Council meeting at Sunnyside Community Services.

Capt. John Travaglia said that the precinct, which covers all or parts of Long Island City, Maspeth, Sunnyside and Woodside, recorded a 28 percent drop in major crimes in the last 28 days. The plunge included a 50 percent fall in robberies, an 11 percent decrease in burglaries and a 46 percent drop in grand larcenies.

Continuing the positive news, Travaglia said the precinct recorded no incidents of rape, homicide or auto accident fatalities so far this year.

“Our numbers reflect how safe of a community we live in,” Travaglia said. “This is a wonderful place and the statistics don’t lie.”

Travaglia did, however, caution residents about preventing burglaries during the coming spring and summer months.

“As the weather gets warmer, we tend to leave our windows open to let the nice breeze into our homes,” he said, “but when you leave your home, remember to shut those windows and lock them.  These are crimes of opportunity, and we want to make sure we take that opportunity away.”

Travaglia and the council honored one officer in particular for his efforts to fight crime. P.O. John Miszuk of the precinct’s Anti-Crime Team received the Cop of the Month Award for apprehending a violent robbery suspect earlier in the month.

At 10:30 p.m. on March 21, 108th Precinct officers responded to a 911 call regarding a robbery in progress in the vicinity of 47th Avenue and 46th Street. According to Travaglia, the suspect approached his male victim from behind with a knife, demanding cash and belongings. After a brief struggle, the victim’s face and hand were slashed and the perp fled on foot.

The victim surrendered some personal property, but managed to hold on to his cellphone and call the police. Travaglia spoke with the victim over the phone and tried to get a description of the perp, as well as the victim’s location. Miszuk and his team combed the area searching for the suspect based on the description given to 911.

Miszuk apprehended the suspect a few blocks away from the crime scene, while Travaglia was still on the phone with the victim. The suspect was allegedly found in possession of a knife, as well as crack cocaine and a crack pipe.

Travaglia and Precinct Council President Diane Ballek presented Miszuk with a plaque donated by the Ridgewood Times and Times Newsweekly.

The Precinct Council also welcomed Marissa Beckett from the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV). Beckett announced the creation and expansion of several programs aimed at helping victims of domestic assault at Family Justice Centers in each borough.

“Domestic Violence is a pattern of power and control,” she explained. “It can begin as threats and can escalate to physical abuse.”

Some of the programs offered at the Queens Family Justice Center, located at 126-02 82nd Ave. in Kew Gardens, include Safe Horizon, ESL classes, parenting programs and the Healthy Relationship Training Academy aimed at preventing cyber bullying and dating violence among teens. Help is available to all regardless of their language or immigration status.

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