Crime in the 110th Precinct decreased 12 percent in the 28-day period through Aug. 30, compared to the same time frame in 2019.
“It seems like we’re holding our own over here,” said Capt. Jonathan Cermeli, commanding officer of the 110th Precinct, which encompasses Corona and Elmhurst.
Robberies decreased from 29 to 22 and felony assaults dropped from 35 to 27 during the period. Cermeli credits cutting down on gang violence.
“It’s definitely making a difference as you can see in the numbers,” he told the Chronicle in an interview Tuesday.
He said the precinct focuses on spots that have historically seen violence. Cermeli’s intelligence sergeant, Gerald Laclair, his neighborhood coordination officer sergeant during their days in the 112th Precinct, looks at social media and sees posts from gangs and criminal organizations.
“We put all that together on a weekly basis and we start to decide where we think, if there’s possibly going to be gang violence or any targeted violence, where should we deploy our men and women?” Cermeli said.
He said there is high visibility in certain areas and officers have stopped unauthorized street parties and barbecues, including some that gang members were affiliated with.
“We’ve shut it down before it even starts because once people start drinking and they’re out and about it’s just a recipe for disaster at the end of the night,” Cermeli said.
He said monitoring social media has been “pretty lucrative” for the precinct.
“Good, bad or indifferent that’s kind of the way the millennial generation is now,” Cermeli said. “Everybody’s on social media. Everybody’s posting everything for the world to see. The criminal element and gangs are no different. They just post different things. Instead of family events it might be their gang meeting.”
The area saw two shootings in recent weeks. One was a gang-motivated incident at 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue in which one member shot at another person who he thought was a gang member. The shooter was charged with attempted second-degree murder. The other shooting was at a house party on Corona Avenue at an Airbnb, after the homeowner arrived home and had everyone vacate the house because of a no-party stipulation that had been violated. Two different groups got into an argument and shots were fired at each other, with two people being struck. No arrests have been made and the incident is being investigated.
There was one rape in the area, an incident in which the attacker was known to the victim. The case is being investigated by the Special Victims Unit.
Grand larcenies dropped from 47 to 40 and burglaries decreased from 12 to 8 in the 28-day period, though Cermeli said he’s seeing some shoplifting again out of Macy’s and Target. The precinct is working with mall security and having officers patrol the area “so people see uniformed personnel that’s not just security from the store.”
The precinct did see a jump in grand larceny of vehicles, going from five to 18. Cermeli said people are taking motorized scooters and mopeds as they are used for deliveries and general transportation but that riders often fail to secure them.
“They’re so light that a lot of people are taking the opportunity, if they’re not locked down in some way, shape or form, they’ll throw them right into the back of a van,” the commander said.
He said officers are informing business owners and riders to not leave them unattended or to lock them if the vehicles do have to be left by themselves. There are also checkpoints at night where officers might take a quick look in the back of a big van or truck.
“It’s a lot more intricate to take a car but to take something that weighs 200 pounds, one or two people could easily throw that in the back of a van within seconds and it’s gone,” Cermeli said.