LIC-based precinct issues a burglary warning after experiencing a spike in break-ins

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The 108th Precinct has seen a 5 percent decrease in crime since last year, but the precinct’s commander is warning residents to lock their car and house doors when they step out.

Captain Ralph Forgione, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct, said during the May 30 meeting of the 108th Precinct Community Council in Sunnyside that the command has seen a spike in residential and commercial burglaries and attributes this increase to residents not taking enough precaution.

Since last month, Forgione reported, crimes are down by 17 percent including in categories such as robbers, which are down 33 percent and grand larcenies, which saw a monthly decrease from 54 to 39.

The neighborhood saw 10 burglaries versus six last month, and the 108th Precinct had a reported 20 more burglaries this month than the same time last year.

“We’ve been struggling with burglaries all year round,” Forgione said.

Many of the burglaries are taking place in Woodside, where the command borders the 110th and 115th precincts. They’re also occurring within a small section of Maspeth. The 108th Precinct includes Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and a portion of Maspeth.

Forgione added that a large portion of the burglaries occur when residents leave their homes and cars unlocked. He added that more than 50 percent of the auto thefts in the precinct are due to people leaving their car keys in the ignition when they pick up food or try to quickly get something from their homes before driving away.

He said if residents “don’t want to be a statistic,” they should lock their doors and not store valuable items in their cars.

The Cop of the Month award was given to Police Officer Hassan Raka, who arrested a man for grand theft auto on May 19.

At about 4 a.m., someone called 911 to report that they had witnessed someone breaking into a car and stealing a wallet. Officer Raza was able to track down the witness, who was able to identify the perpetrator from a safe distance.

Officers found a wallet, credit cards and a license on the person. Officer Raza was also able to call the person who owned the car and let them know that their possessions were stolen. The perpetrator was arrested two days prior for breaking into another car.

“Why people leave their wallet and stuff in the car I don’t know,” Forgione said. “This is the perfect example why you don’t. The person who was locked up said, ‘I only break into cars that are unlocked.'”

Forgione commended Raza for his “hard work and dedication” and said “he’s an asset to the unit.”

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