I hope that all in the Juniper Park community have been enjoying a safe autumn season. The men and women of the 104 Precinct have been quite active in the past few weeks and I would like to share with you some of the work we have been doing. The recent storm known as SuperStorm Sandy created a few challenges for the community. I will outline the Precinct response to this event as well as the recent crime statistics for the Juniper Park area. Also as we rapidly move into the Holiday Season I would like to discuss some crime prevention tips to make this Christmas, Chanukah, and New Year's Day festive and safe.
As of November 11th, the 104th Precinct is down 1.5% in reported major crime with 1,455 crimes reported this year versus 1,477 last year at the same time. Robberies are up 10% with 247 reported this year versus 223 in 2011. There has been a decrease in robberies within the Juniper Park area of the precinct with 20 robberies reported thus far this year versus 26 in 2011. Felony assaults reported so far in 2012 have increased by 7% with 230 reported versus 215 in 2011. The increase in felony assault continues to be driven by domestic violence related issues, with 109 such crimes reported thus far in 2012 versus 96 in 2011. Felony assault has, however, decreased in the Juniper Park area with 15 felony assault incidents reported versus 23 in 2011. Burglary has remained the same this year with 330 reported in 2012 and 330 in 2011. There have been 28 reported burglaries in the Juniper Park area this year versus 39 in 2011.
Increase in grand larcenies
in Middle village
Grand larceny complaints have decreased in the precinct by 4%. There were 456 grand larcenies recorded so far this year versus 474 in 2011. This crime has increased in the Juniper Park area with 74 grand larceny incidents recorded versus 55 in 2011. Grand Larceny continues to be driven by cyber theft and credit card fraud as well as property left unattended.
The final major crime category, auto theft, has decreased in the Precinct in 2012 by 19%. There were 181 autos reported stolen so far this year versus 222 in 2011. There have been 29 auto thefts reported in the Juniper Park area, which is the same as last year at this point. Arrests in the major crime categories have increased in some areas as well. Members of the 104th Precinct have made 107 robbery arrests so far this year over 86 in 2011. Burglary arrests have increased to 75 in 2012 over 68 last year. Thus far in 2012, the 104 Precinct has also made 82 grand larceny and auto theft arrests.
Challenges from Hurricane SAndy
The last weekend of October presented a difficult challenge for the Precinct as well as the entire region as SuperStorm Sandy bore down on us. As the weather forecasts grew ominous, the Precinct in conjunction with the entire Queens North Borough and the city implemented pre-determined storm response plans. All members of the precinct had their days off cancelled and were placed on 12-hour shifts. Precinct investigative and plainclothes units were deployed in uniform for the duration of the storm. Also the command Hurricane Plan was put into effect. I conferred with elected officials and community leaders as to where the needs of the elderly and special care individuals may be met.
I also directed specific posts and patrols at traditional flood prone locations in the area. When the storm arrived, members of the 104 Precinct responded to numerous calls for assistance from stranded motorists, downed tree and power lines as well as traditional police matters. When the storm finally passed us I directed a systematic survey of the entire command for power outages and any other storm related conditions. In the aftermath of SuperStorm Sandy it was immediately evident that this area avoided the devastation and loss of life that occurred in areas a short distance away. In fact there were no storm related fatalities either in the Juniper Park area or the Precinct as a whole.
It was with great pride that I saw the men and women of the 104 Precinct team up with the community to mobilize and come to the aid of storm-affected regions of Queens by providing needed supplies and support. My Community Affairs staff co-coordinated deliveries of generous donations that poured into the affected areas of the precinct. Also, many officers from the 104th Precinct were dispatched on post-storm duty to assist in keeping order in those areas.
Shortly after the storm the region encountered an unforeseen gasoline shortage. At one point only one of the 27 gas stations in the 104 Precinct was pumping. This created a herculean task for the command as plans had to be rapidly developed in order to manage the traffic flow as well as confusion resulting from the shortage. Once again the members of the Precinct responded professionally and as of the time of this report it seems that things are getting back to a sense of normalcy.
Crime Prevention during Holiday Season
During the upcoming weeks we will be dealing with the after effects of SuperStorm Sandy and as the region recovers we also will be preparing for the upcoming Holiday Season. It is unfortunate but we all have to be aware that this is a time when the criminal element preys upon the distracted. I would like to remind everyone to remain vigilant and take precautions to not become a crime victim. First, please secure your automobiles. Check to see that all doors are locked even if parked in your driveways! An automobile is not the optimal location to store valuables such as pocketbooks, wallets, electronic devices and the like. Be observant of individuals lurking around the vicinity of parked automobiles and report immediately any suspicious behavior to 911.
Secondly, protect your homes. Ensure that your doors and windows are always locked. Pay particular attention to securing windows on ground and basement levels. Utilize your home security systems and with the Daylight Savings Time please utilize external lighting. If you witness a person on your property that you or your neighbors cannot identify, report it immediately to 911.
Finally, do not allow anyone into your homes. You should be highly suspicious of anybody that requests to gain entry into your home. Deception and deceit is often used by criminals in order to gain entrance into your home to commit larceny and greater crimes. Utility workers and messengers from reputable delivery services rarely need to gain access inside your home. If you did not request their services, be highly suspicious. A call to 911 is warranted if you have any suspicions about an individual looking to come into your home. Be sure to give the 911 operator all details including a description of the suspect and any statements that they may have made. The responding police officers will verify the credentials of the person and assess the need for entry. Please refrain from letting anyone into your home and record any direction that they may have fled prior to police arrival.
Prevention is the most effective crime deterrent measure. Examine your homes, automobiles and personal property to ensure they are always secure. Reduce the contents of your wallet or pocketbook and carry only what is necessary. Place rarely used checkbooks and credit /debit cards in a safe place. Do not carry these items unnecessarily. If you believe that there is even a small chance that your credit cards or check books may have been compromised, report it immediately to your financial institution. Most of these institutions will replace such items expeditiously at no cost to you, the consumer. This will immediately render compromised financial instruments useless to a criminal.
In closing on behalf of myself and all the men and women of the 104th Precinct I would like to wish all in the Juniper Park community a healthy, safe and happy Holiday Season. We thank you all for your support in our mission. I look forward to continuing to serve the community in 2013! As always feel free to contact me personally or a member of my staff with any issue where we may be of assistance.