Pickpockets, tire-and-rim thieves and other crooks are taking advantage of residents throughout the Flushing-based 109th Precinct, according to its commanding officer.
Inspector Judith Harrison outlined a series of observed crime trends at the Community Council meeting on April 11. The command, which covers areas of Flushing, College Point, Whitestone and the Bay Terrace section of Bayside, has recently seen a spate of tire-and-rim thefts, Harrison noted.
Thieves are targeting 2017 and 2018 Honda Accord models in the area for the parts. The inspector encouraged car owners to always activate their alarms and install locking wheel nuts, which are a cost-effective way to deter perpetrators.
Cars should be parked in well-lit areas, Harrison continued, and wheels should be angled toward the street.
“We’ve had several instances in the command,” she said. “Nothing is foolproof, but you want to try a few things that will deter people.”
Harrison added that the downtown Flushing area is also being hit with many wallet thefts.
“We’ve got an unattended purse and wallet theft pattern in downtown Flushing,” Harrison said. “We’ve got seven incidents in that pattern.”
She encouraged shoppers and pedestrians in the area to secure their belongings and be aware of their surroundings. Bags and purses should be angled in front of the body so they are in sight, the inspector added.
The Hong Kong bank scam continues to impact the command. In the scam, a resident receives a phone call from an individual claiming to be from the Chinese Embassy. The caller tells the resident that their name has been linked to certain crimes and instructs him or her to wire a sum of money to a bank in Hong Kong in order to terminate the investigation.
“People run out and they get gift cards or they wire them money,” Harrison said. “It’s a scam, and it’s just another one of many.”
Residents unsure of the validity of the call should contact the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit at 718-321-2343 or the Office of the Chinese General Consulate at 212-244-9392.
“Verify before you comply,” Harrison said.
Car thefts increased over the last 28 days, she also noted. The precinct has made a number of social media posts in recent weeks reminding residents not to leave their cars running unattended, as this attributes to the rise.
“If each one of you could help me touch the people that aren’t here and arm them with the information, we start to see a lot of these crimes go down,” Harrison said.