Car break-ins and burglaries are on the rise in northeast Queens, according to officers from the 111th Precinct.
Police Officer John Erdman of the 111th Precinct Community Affairs Unit warned residents about this increasing trend during the Oct. 1 Community Board 11 meeting at M.S. 158 in Bayside. Erdman said that local parents, particularly women, were reporting stolen bags, wallets and phones after picking up their children from school.
“They get there early, responsibly parking a distance from the school and walk down and get their children. However, it seems to be affecting mostly women; they leave their pocketbooks in their vehicle — whether it’s on the front seat, the floor, in the backseat,” said Erdman. “These people are opportunistic. They see you have a car. They see you walking down the street with nothing. They see you turn the corner of the school and then they go to your car.”
The officer said that even if people’s windows and doors are locked, thieves may still make an attempt to get to valuables left in people’s cars. Erdman pointed out that thieves may be on the lookout for expensive designer bags which often cost upwards of $1,000.
“Take your bag with you. Gentlemen, take your wallets with you; don’t leave them behind. It takes two seconds to throw it in your pocket,” Erdman said.
The officer added that similar break-ins were also happening around Alley Pond Park and other local parks within the 111th Precinct’s confines, which includes all or parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Flushing and Little Neck.
Erdman also highlighted the rash of home burglaries that have been happening in the area. He defined a burglary as someone breaking into someone’s home using force.
“If you’re leaving, even for a short time — whether it’s 15 minutes going to the store, 20 minutes to pick up a child from school, whatever it may be, maybe you pick up a husband or a wife from the train — lock your doors. Close your windows,” said Erdman.
He invited residents to get their homes evaluated by the NYPD with their free home security surveys, during which NYPD officers check doors, windows and doorframes for their structural integrity. The officers then tell residents what they can improve in their homes in order to make them safer from break-ins.
For more information or to request a home survey, call the 111th Precinct Crime Prevention Unit at 718-279-5281.