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Queens Chronicle

Burglaries on the rise in the 109th

Home break-ins have increased in the last month, especially in Whitestone

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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:39 pm, Thu Dec 5, 2019.

“As of late, we have seen an increase in burglaries,” 109th Precinct Deputy Inspector Keith Shine told Whitestone residents on Wednesday, Nov. 20. “We actually had another one that occurred just this afternoon.”

The 109th Precinct, which includes Whitestone as well as Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Beechhurst, Bay Terrace and Downtown and East Flushing, recorded 34 burglaries since Oct. 27. Only 15 were recorded in the month prior.

Speaking at the We Love Whitestone Civic Association meeting, Shine explained that the precinct narrowed the crime down to the 150th Street area, a path it believes the perpetrators to be following.

“Burglaries have always been a very difficult crime,” the precinct’s commanding officer explained, since homeowners often won’t make the discovery for six to eight hours after the crime has been committed, giving the perpetrators ample time to get away.

The majority of recorded burglaries are occurring during the daytime and early evening while homeowners are at work or school or running errands, Shine said.

In order to combat the increasing crime, the 109th has placed extra unmarked patrol cars within Whitestone, most notably surrounding 150th Street. The patrol vehicles are equipped with license plate-scanning technology to seek out repeat offenders before they get the chance to strike again.

“We are hoping to establish a presence. We are actively aware of it.”

Shine assured the Whitestone residents that “99 percent” of the burglary calls that come into the precinct are false alarms, but the officers continue to treat each one as a buglary in progress.

A concerned resident, Emilio, asked Shine what he and his neighbors should do if they are faced with an active burglary, jokingly suggesting, “Should we give them a nice massage while we wait [for the response team] or take them out to lunch?”

Shine, understanding the desire to react, urged Emilio and the audience not to get involved. “If you come home and your door is open, please do not go in. Go to a neighbor, call 911, sit back or go back in the car and lock the door. Do not go into the house or look around.”

Shine offered some tips to avoid becoming victim of a burglary, including installing surveillance and alarm systems within the home. He encouraged the residents to be actively observant and report any suspicious activity, even if it’s as small as seeing a stranger walk up a driveway.

“It’s all we need. It’s actually all we’re looking for,” said Shine. “You’re our best line of defense for this.”

Shine asked the audience a simple question before revealing his favorite piece of advice for reporting crime: “I’m sure you all know your own address, but do you know the address of the home directly behind you?”

Many burglars enter through the back and sides of homes, Shine explained, and an observant neighbor may be able to thwart a burglary by reporting the accurate address during a 911 call, reducing time wasted by sending the response squad to the caller’s location. “Just keep an eye out for each other,” Shine advised.

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