The 106th Precinct community was hit by a rash of car thefts in January – 21 for the past 28 days compared to 12 reported for the same period last year, according to the Precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff. He revealed the statistics in an emailed statement issued last Sunday. Most of the thefts have occurred in Ozone Park and South Ozone Park.
Schiff said that 20 of the car thefts have occurred north of the Belt Parkway and within a block or two of Cross Bay Boulevard, Liberty Avenue, Rockaway Boulevard, Lefferts Boulevard or North Conduit Avenue. One theft occurred one block south of South Conduit Avenue. He said the sites of the robberies suggest the thieves were scouting locations where fleeing the neighborhood would easy.
“It is quite clear these car thieves are very mindful of their escape route with an obvious emphasis on a quick escape route out of the area,” said Schiff.
The deputy inspector noted that seven of the car thefts occurred when the victims left their keys in the car’s ignition with the vehicle left running unattended, something drivers often do to warm up their cars in cold weather, or while unloading packages.
The NYPD advises drivers when leaving their vehicle to always close the windows, turn off the ignition and remove the keys and lock the doors.
“You might only be a minute, but a minute is all a thief needs,” said the NYPD.
Crime in general is down just over 5 percent in the 106th Precinct compared to last year at this time, according to the most recent statistics from CompStat. The drop is mainly due to a decrease in burglaries and robberies.
Last year, the 106th Precinct reported 191 stolen vehicles. At the peak in 1993, more than 3,300 cars were stolen in the precinct command, which includes Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach and South Richmond Hill.