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Queens Chronicle

Crime down 45 percent in 112th

CO gives concert traffic plans; NYPD chief of transportation talks safety

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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2019 10:30 am

Crime is down 45 percent in the last 28-day period in the 112th Precinct.

Capt. Jonathan Cermeli, the precinct’s commanding officer, made the announcement during last Wednesday’s meeting of the Precinct Community Council.

There was one rape, down from six during the same stretch in 2018. There was one felony assault, down from seven; three burglaries, down from five; and two car thefts, down from four. Robberies remained at two and there were no murders.

There were 24 grand larcenies, down from 36. He did say that the precinct has been taking cases of petit larcenies.

“What we are seeing a little bit of a spike in again is the petit larcenies from autos,” Cermeli said. “That’s something that we’re struggling with. I implore everyone all the time, please keep your doors of your vehicles locked ... don’t keep anything in view, any packages or any items of value, credit cards especially.”

He added, “If there’s nothing in the cars or they can’t get into the cars maybe they’ll just move on and hopefully find a job.”

Cermeli also told residents to remain cautious as the weather warms up.

“Just be careful if you’re going to put an air conditioner in your window, make sure you screw it in or bolt it in,” he said. “We see a lot of that, with the push-ins with the air conditioners. Or it’s hot out so maybe you just want to leave your window open. When you leave please remember to lock your window. All simple things but things that we take for granted.”

With the 2019 concert season beginning at Forest Hills Stadium, Cermeli announced the main closures will be the same as always for vehicular traffic starting on Continental Avenue from Austin to Dartmouth streets, the same it has been since the concerts have been in Forest Hills in 2014.

“We are not going to change the closures,” Cermeli said. “We are not going to do anything different.”

He noted the large crowds coming out of the Long Island Rail Road and funneling right down by Burns Street and pointed to the deaths of eight people in an attack on Halloween 2017 in Lower Manhattan when a pickup truck drove through a bike path.

Thomas Chan, the NYPD’s chief of transportation, also spoke to the crowd, saying that 2018 was historically safe for people on the city’s streets.

There were 202 traffic fatalities, the lowest number since records were kept beginning in 1910.

He did give advice on what one action motorists could do to reduce fatalities and injuries in the city.

“My advice is that New York City drivers need to pay attention while they’re making left turns,” Chan said. “Left turns are three times as likely to cause an injury or a fatality.”

He explained that vehicles making left turns usually travel at higher speeds than vehicles making right turns.

“It could be up to 9 miles per hour as opposed to a right turn, maybe 5 miles per hour,” he said. “That difference of a few miles can lead to a fatality or more serious injury.”

Chan, who became the first Asian-American captain to command a precinct when he took control of the 5th Precinct in 1994, also spoke about Asian-American Heritage Month.

With the NYPD since 1982, Chan recalled how there were only a handful of Asian police officers in the 1970s and now there are more than 2,500.

He was raised on the Lower East Side in the Alfred E. Smith housing development opposite 1 Police Plaza.

“I really never dreamed that 40 years later I would be part of the management team at police headquarters,” Chan said. “Especially after the security guard chased my friends and I off those particular grounds.”

He also didn’t believe he would drive a former president around like he had to in 1988 when he was a sergeant and Richard Nixon was stuck in gridlock on his way to a summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. A bodyguard approached Chan as he was sitting on 42nd Street at 7th Avenue.

“We sped, lights and sirens across the city, delivering the former president to his event and relieved that we did not crash our car and have an accident,” Chan said.

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