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Photo via Twitter/NYPD109Pct
Officers from the 109th Precinct distribute flyers about the area crime trend.

If you’re a business owner who uses a Ford Econoline van, police in northeast Queens want you to take extra steps to protect them from thieves.

Deputy Inspector Judith Harrison, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, which covers areas of Whitestone, College Point, Flushing and Bayside, told attendees at the March 8 109th Precinct Community Council meeting that there were 32 more crimes over the last 28-day period when compared with last year. She attributed the uptick to a spike in grand larceny of autos, which were up 133 percent.

“Now, we’ve got some automobiles that are being taken,” Harrison said. “We’re seeing a lot of Ford Econoline vans.”

Harrison said the precinct faced the same problem about a year ago, before she arrived as commanding officer. Officers were finding many of the stolen vans in Queens South, primarily in Jamaica, where they were repurposed and used as “dollar vans” — a form of public transportation.

“So, in addition to the parts, they do use them for the dollar vans, and what have you,” Harrison said.

Community Affairs officers from the precinct are advising Ford Econoline van owners to park the vehicles in well-lit areas and lock all doors. Owners should also take all of their belongings out of the vans and activate all alarms.

“You know somebody that’s not here,” Harrison said. “We’re trying to get the word out there; but you can help us get the message out there, too.”

The deputy inspector also urged all car owners not to leave their cars running and unattended, which she said has been another issue within the precinct. Harrison also reminded residents to keep their car doors locked and to take all valuables with them when exiting the vehicle.

Community affairs officers from the precinct were out last week distributing materials about the crime trend.

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