A spike last month in robberies, larcenies and auto thefts in the 106th Precinct was confirmed by the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, at the Nov. 13 Community Council meeting.
NYPD crime statistics for the 28-day period ending Nov. 3 showed that robberies in the precinct jumped by 38 percent, grand larcenies rose 47 percent and auto thefts went up 61 percent compared to last year. However, those numbers include comparison to the week after Hurricane Sandy last year when there was very little crime.
Nevertheless, Schiff said the majority of the robberies were occurring around Liberty Avenue and 129th Street near a bar, where two individuals were robbed exiting the place by two crooks. Officers arrested the alleged perpetrators in the bar that night.
In an effort to combat the robberies, Schiff said he has assigned the 16 new officers he recently received to Liberty Avenue during the time the robberies are occurring. In addition, Patrol Borough Queens South has provided the precinct with additional manpower and approved additional overtime for officers.
Schiff also acknowledged that car break-ins and tire and rim thefts were occurring throughout the precinct.
In one instance in Howard Beach, the police had surveillance video of an individual loosening the lug nuts of a tire with a power tool. The individual then left for about five or 10 minutes and returned with a crew in a van, who, Schiff said, jumped out, took the tire, put it in the van and sped away.
Schiff said that during the midnight touring when there has been a rash of auto thefts, officers will be concentrating on stopping suspicious vans or those which have violated any traffic laws. Checkpoints also have been set up on North Conduit Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard.
A group of suspected auto thieves were spotted jumping out of a flat-bed tow truck, putting an automobile on the truck and driving away, according to Schiff. Under the law police can stop tow trucks for a safety inspection, which, he said, officers will be doing on all shifts.
Officers will also be checking the vehicles that are being towed. Tow drivers will be checked for outstanding arrest warrants and to see if they are properly licensed with city and state regulatory agencies.
Discussing several recent larcenies at a Home Depot on Rockaway Boulevard, Schiff said police have made a number of arrests in conjunction with the store’s security personnel, which seems to have brought the number down. He added that auxiliary police officers have also been assigned to patrol the area around the store. Also, Schiff said that crime at the adjacent Resorts World Casino New York City has gone down.
He also detailed some recent arrests.
On Oct. 25 at 3:10 p.m. a 15-year-old playing basketball at Sutter Avenue and 81st Street in Ozone Park was allegedly robbed of an iPhone by three teenage individuals. Schiff said officers spotted the alleged perpetrators and arrested them. The three are also suspected in at least five other robberies in the area.
A 15-year-old walking home from school in the vicinity of 129th Street and 103rd Avenue in South Richmond Hill was allegedly confronted by three perpetrators who forcibly took his iPod. Schiff said that after a brief canvass of the area police officers caught the three teenage suspects, two of whom had prior arrests.
On Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. a 47-year-old individual riding his bicycle on the sidewalk in violation of the law was stopped and questioned by police. When police ran a name check they found that he had an outstanding warrant and 44 prior arrests. Schiff said that he was carrying an illegal gravity knife. Based on surveillance video, police believe that the individual is also responsible for two commercial van break-ins in South Ozone Park.