Crime statistics in the 104th Precinct hit a bump in the road in the last month despite what the commanding officer said at the Sept. 21 meeting of the precinct Community Council has been a very positive year.
“I’ve been saying this for a year — this precinct has been doing phenomenally as it relates to crime,” said Capt. Louron Hall, commanding officer of the precinct. “For the year we’ve seen a 14 percent decease in [major] crimes. Violent crimes are down at a rate of 21.7 percent.”
But in the most recent 28-day period, ending Sept. 19 according to statistics obtained from the NYPD, major crimes were up 13.3 percent from the same 28-day period last year. It included the first two shootings of the year.
Hall said the first took place on Aug. 15 in Maspeth near the train tracks by Flushing Avenue and 59th Drive.
“We had a rave party on the tracks over there,” Hall said. “Obviously, they were trespassing on those tracks.”
He said at one point, partygoers heard what sounded like firecrackers and began running toward them, including the eventual victim.
“Shorty thereafter, he felt a pain in his leg,” Hall said. The victim was brought to an area hospital in a private vehicle, and police officers reported there. No 911 calls were received.
The second took place on Cooper Avenue near 72nd Street the week before the meeting. The victim told police — from an emergency room in the Bronx — that he was looking at a motorcycle when he heard an alarm go off followed by the sound of gunshots. He ran to his car and realized he had been shot in the buttocks.
The precinct also saw 15 robberies in the 28-day period.
“Those are the most concerning to me,” Hall said. Most of the robberies have taken place outdoors in the early-morning hours in Ridgewood. The robbers in four cases have walked up behind the victims, put them in chokeholds and taken their property.
“Just be aware of your surroundings,” Hall said. “We live in a digital age Everybody’s looking at cell phones. Everyone has ear pods in their ears, not paying attention to what is going on outside. We’ve got to be extra vigilant and pay attention to our surroundings to make sure we’re not victimized.”
Burglaries were down more than 32 percent for the 28-day period, though Hall said a pair of ATMs were stolen — one on Sept. 1 from Tejada Brothers Food Corp. on 61st Street, and one on Sept. 5 from the Satisfactions nail salon on Fresh Pond Road.
Hall also said the precinct has seen a “disturbing trend” of catalytic converter thefts, particularly in Middle Village. The devices contain precious metals such as platinum, which can prove lucrative when bringing a few to a scrap yard.
The CO said the thieves work in crews of two or three, almost exclusively in the overnight hours. Usually a car pulls up next to the chosen vehicle, with one man going under the car with a cutting tool while one or two others stand by. There seems to be no pattern of makes and models of cars.
“Two minutes and it’s gone,” Hall said.
But he also said if someone sees a car double-parked right next to another vehicle on their street in the overnight hours to call 911, thus possibly letting police catch the thieves in the act.
As to one of the more high-profile complaints in recent months, Hall said the 104th has been going after illegal dirt bikes and ATVs with a vengeance. He said the police have confiscated 28 in recent weeks and 46 for the year.
The meeting was the first in-person meeting of the council in well over a year because of Covid 19. Hall took the opportunity to introduce the crowd at the Martin Luther School in Maspeth to Capt. Juan Terrero, his new executive officer. Terrero came from the Bronx, where he said he had served for several years.