114th Precinct in Astoria sees reduction in major crime categories for 2017

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There was a decrease in six major crime categories within the 114th Precinct in 2017.

According to Captain Esvaldo Nunez, the commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, there were 229 less “majors” in 2017, crimes that include murder, rape, robbery, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft.

Those are 229 less victims and that’s due to the hard work of the police officers in the 114th Precinct and the fact that we have such a strong bond with the community,” he said at the 114th Precinct Community Council meeting on Jan. 23. “The support that we get from the community, the cops know that you have our back and that just pushes us to work even harder.”

The precinct, which covers Astoria and parts of Long Island City, Jackson Heights and Woodside, has been struggling with felony assaults, a pattern that is occurring borough-wide, Nunez said. The spike — there were about 30 more felony assaults in 2017 than in 2016 — is attributed mostly to incidents regarding nightlife. For the time period spanning Dec. 25, 2017, through Jan. 21 of this year, the precinct recorded 27 felony assaults. During the 28 days prior, the precinct recorded 18 of these crimes.

“We’re struggling with [felony assaults] a little bit but that’s mostly due to nightclubs and also the domestic [assaults] spiked a couple of weeks ago when we were having those frigid temperatures,” Nunez said.

He pointed to nightclubs such as Aces, which has since shut down, Fusion Lounge at 34-19 Steinway St. and Home of Astoria at 28-49 Steinway St. as being the most problematic establishments. Nunez has assigned officers to drive up and down the Steinway corridor on weekends to patrol the area and try to combat the spike.

So far, officers have made 16 arrests in the 27 felony assaults. During the 28-day period, the precinct saw a reduction in burglaries from 12 to nine and a reduction in auto thefts from 60 to 56. Robberies slightly increased from 14 in the previous 28-day period to 16.

Nunez added that due to the mayor’s crackdown on e-bikes, the 114th Precinct has confiscated 44 electric bicycles in 2017 and plans to ramp up enforcement in 2018. Though Mayor Bill de Blasio has instructed the NYPD to go after the businesses that encourage employees to use e-bikes, Nunez said most of the complaints from residents have been about “reckless” driving. In these cases, the cops hand out tickets and summonses to the operators.

The next 114th Precinct Community Council meeting will take place on Feb. 27 at Riccardo’s by the Bridge at 21-01 24th Ave.

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