Over the past 28 days Ozone Park, South Ozone Park and South Richmond Hill have been hit with a rash of residential daylight burglaries.
According to the latest NYPD CompStat crime statistics for the period ending July 8, there were 25 reported burglaries in the last 28 days, compared to 18 last year, a 39 percent increase.
At last week’s meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council, Capt. Thomas Pascale, the precinct’s commanding officer, said they believe that several groups of perpetrators, driving around in late model rental cars, such as Nissan Altimas and Chevy Impalas, are responsible for the burglaries. He said three individuals ride in each car.
According to the captain, two individuals will get out of the car on a residential block and knock on the front doors of homes. If no one answers, they then kick in the back door.
“It’s amazing how brazen these guys are,” Pascale said.
Captain Pascale added that many homeowners just look out their windows and do not answer the door causing the “bad guys” to believe that no one is home. Pascale said that when the burglars are confronted in the home they leave the residences.
Hindu residents also appear to be targeted by the thieves because it is common for their homes to have large amounts of gold jewelry to be given as gifts or passed on to relatives.
“Those Hindu flags (in front of the homes) are actually an invitation for these bad guys to commit a burglary at your house,” Pascale said.
The captain said that he takes the burglaries very seriously and personally responds to as many of them as he can. He has put additional resources into the affected neighborhoods including plainclothes officers.
He said that police officers would immediately respond to ringing burglar alarms and reports of individuals ringing doorbells or suspicious individuals in the neighborhoods. When a burglary does happen, the NYPD’s evidence collection team is dispatched to the scene. The team takes fingerprints and DNA evidence at the location and match them to the state’s DNA database.
The captain told the audience that police would check the local pawnshops to see if the burglar has pawned stolen jewelry.
Thieves also seem to prefer laptop computers, tablets, iPods and iPads, said Pascale, who urged residents to note the serial numbers of the electronics in case they are stolen.
The meeting then turned to other topics. South Ozone Park resident Philip Everett asked what could be done about cars that block his driveway. Pascale said that under the law police could write a summons for the violation and he could then call a tow company to have the vehicle towed away.
Olga, an Ozone Park resident who declined to give her last name, asked if residents are allowed to put garbage cans on the street to save parking spots. She said that while looking for a parking spot in her neighborhood she saw garbage cans blocking a parking spot and got out of her car, moved the cans to the sidewalk, and parked in the spot. When she returned two hours later she said that the air had been removed from two of her tires.
Pascale asked her to see him after the meeting and give him the address and said he would have officers go to the location and talk to the residents because the practice is illegal
The next meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. at the precinct at 103-53 101 St. in Ozone Park.