Even though overall crime was down for the latest weekly and monthly periods compared to last year, auto thefts continued to trouble the 106th Precinct communities, Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, the precinct’s commander, said at the community council meeting on May 14.
Burglaries and grand larcenies showed double-digit drops, according to NYPD crime statistics for the week ending May 11. However, auto thefts rose 33 percent for the week compared to last year and rose 64 percent for the year. Robberies jumped 75 percent for the week.
Discussing auto crime, Schiff said Ford Econoline vans appear to be targeted the most because the parts are interchangeable with prior year models going back 20 years, and are often stolen to commit other crimes with.
Schiff added that residents are still leaving their cars running with the keys in the ignition, which accounts for 36 percent of the car thefts in the precinct.
“I don’t understand it,” Schiff said. “Please secure your vehicles.”
Regarding the ongoing problem with noise at Gemini Field at Conduit Boulevard and 80th Street in Ozone Park, Schiff said officers have spoken to the individual they believe is responsible and, according to residents, the loud music has ceased.
He said that this summer the precinct will have two officers specifically assigned to address noise complaints.
On another issue, Betty Braton, chairwoman of Community Board 10, said cars with out-of-state license plates have been parked inside a lot at the corner of Albert Road and Cohancy Street in Ozone Park, which is zoned residential. Braton said there appears to also be a zoning violation. Schiff said he would look into the situation.
Howard Kamph, president of the Ozone Park Civic Association, complained about a homeless woman who hangs out in front of the Howard Beach Library and Waldbaum’s on Cross Bay Boulevard.
Schiff said police know the woman and had taken her to an area hospital where staff deemed her sane and fit and released her. He added that at the present time she is not blocking the sidewalk and businesses have not made any complaints to police about her.
“We’ll keep a close eye on her and if she gets to be out of control regarding the amount of bottles and things that she has and blocking the sidewalk, we’ll take care of that,” Schiff told Kamph.
The commander also discussed some recent arrests.
Four individuals driving their cars in the vicinity of 134th Street and 111th Avenue in South Ozone Park were spotted by police allegedly shooting paintballs at each other from the moving vehicles on April 22 at around 8 p.m. One of the individuals and recovered three of the four paintball guns that were allegedly being used. The suspect was initially charged with felonious assault but pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was given a conditional discharge with three days of community service.
In another incident, officers spotted an individual acting suspiciously with what appeared to be a firearm under his shirt on April 29 at 10 a.m. in the vicinity of 116th Street and Rockaway Boulevard in South Ozone Park. When the officers approached him he took off running leading to a pursuit through backyards. Although police were aided in their search for a weapon by K-9 and aviation units, they were not able to find one. The suspect was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest. Schiff said the suspect has five prior arrests, and plead ed guilty to disorderly conduct and was given a conditional discharge by the court.
An Ozone Park resident near 97th Street and 137th Avenue confronted a man allegedly breaking into her car on April 16 at 3 a.m. The suspect allegedly told her to go back inside her house. The woman’s husband then came out of the house, chased and caught the alleged perpetrator. Police arrived soon after and arrested the suspect. Schiff said he had 15 prior arrests for larceny, burglary and robbery. The alleged perpetrator has since pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a vehicle and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.