Flushing’s 109th Precinct receives 15 new police officers, announces ‘significant decline in crime’

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109th Precinct Commanding Officer Louron Hall introduced 15 new police officers at the precinct community council meeting held at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point on Wednesday, Jan 11. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

During the 109th Precinct’s first meeting of the new year held on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Commanding Officer Louron Hall introduced 15 new police officers who graduated from the NYPD Police Academy and announced a significant decrease in crime at the end of 2022.

College Point, Flushing and Whitestone residents filled the room at the Poppenhusen Institute, located at 114-4 14th Rd., where Hall thanked the community for their outpouring of support and his team of police officers.

College Point, Flushing and Whitestone residents attend the 109th Precinct Community Meeting held at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point on Wednesday, Jan. 11. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

“It takes a special person to say, ‘I want to be a police officer,’” Hall said in his opening remarks. “These officers will be assigned to downtown Flushing, along the Main Street corridor, from Northern Boulevard down to Sanford, and on Roosevelt Avenue from Main Street over to College Point Boulevard.” 

Additionally, the police officers will be out patrolling different areas of the communities. With the influx of the new officers, the precinct now has a little over 200 officers, according to Hall. This comes following residents’ calls to local elected officials, which led to a meeting with the mayor regarding staffing shortages and the need for additional resources at the precinct. 

“They listened and they gave us something, but we still need a lot more,” Hall said. 

NYPD 109th Precinct Commanding Officer Louron Hall speaks at the 109th Precinct Community Council meeting held at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point on Wednesday, Jan. 11. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

The 109th Precinct, which covers the largest geographical area in the city, serves the communities of Downtown Flushing, East Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace. 

For a portion of 2022, the precinct was struggling as it ranked No.1 in the city relating to an increase in crime in all seven major indexes. In his report to the community regarding the crime statistics, Hall said the precinct started to turn the page a bit with some declines at the end of the year. 

“For a period of time we were No. 1 and we ended the year at No. 7 with a 46% percent increase in crime,” Hall said. “It’s still significant, but like I said, toward the end of the year we started to see some changes.”

According to Hall, the biggest issue that remains is residential burglaries that are affecting Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Murray Hill and College Point. In the 28-day period, the precinct reported a 325% increase in residential burglaries in College Point. 

“Individuals are making their way into the homes of our residences when we’re away at work. They’re going through windows, rear doors, front doors, by any means to get in,” Hall said. “They’re targeting items that are not traceable, such as cash, jewelry, designer bags and sunglasses. They’re not taking electronic devices anymore because they know it can be traced.” 

While most homeowners tend to have video surveillance inside their homes, Hall is encouraging people to install surveillance cameras outside their homes as well to deter burglars from entering their residence. Residential apartment buildings are also being burglarized and mail theft is an issue, Hall said. Recently, the precinct’s detective squad identified two individuals that hit nine residential buildings in an area. Those individuals were arrested and are now in custody, Hall said. 

With assistance from the public and video surveillance, Hall said officers were able to make some significant arrests, and it’s something they would like to continue this year. 

Aside from residential burglaries, Hall noted criminals who are stealing Honda CRVs, which is a citywide problem. Meanwhile, grand larceny from a person, which is stealing by taking property directly from someone else, is also a problem, specifically on Main Street in downtown Flushing, Hall said. 

“When they’re not on Main Street, they’re doing it in the malls, supermarkets and buses. Guard your valuables and keep them very close to you. If someone bumps into you, they’re probably trying to pickpocket you,” Hall said. 

While they expressed their appreciation for the police officers, some residents stressed concerns regarding the need for more police presence in their neighborhoods. 

“For the last seven months, it’s been crazy. Downtown Flushing I understand, but there’s a lot of elderly people in this community … the Asian people are being targeted because they’re being associated with money,” one resident said. “People are coming into our homes while we’re home, we’ve had a few rapes and that’s what concerns me … as a community there’s only so much that we can take.” 

In response, Hall said the precinct does assign officers to every single sector, adding that they’re doing their best to respond to every call. 

Kim Cody, president of the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association, noted the community’s advocacy for a new police precinct over the past 35 years. 

“The Queens borough president just got a new precinct in the area where he lived and it only took him 40 years. We realize, bottom line, that we asked for additional officers and am very happy with the additional 15 police officers, but the point I want to make is that within this precinct, downtown Flushing is the major hub,” Cody said. “Sector Charlie, which covers College Point, and Sector David, which covers Whitestone and Beechhurst, are two big sectors.”

While he understands the precinct doesn’t have the vehicles and it’s out of their control, Cody suggested that both sectors should be split in half with additional officers. 

“It takes too long to get a radio car to respond to a call,” Cody said. 

A representative from the NYC Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the largest municipal police union in the world, suggested residents reach out to their local elected officials to report issues occurring in the community.