Oct. 31, 2013 By Christian Murray
The Long Island City community was subject to a great deal of praise from the captain of the 108th Precinct for its efforts in trying to locate the missing autistic boy Avonte Oquendo.
“I have been on this job for many, many years…and this has been the closest-knit, the most helpful community I’ve seen,” said Brian Hennessy, the captain of the 108 precinct, who is in charge of the search on a day-to-day basis.
“There have been hundreds of volunteers, mothers with their children, Guardian Angels, La Guardia College students to everyone in the community,” Hennessy said. “The support has been tremendous and everyone should be proud they live in this community.”
Avonte went missing Oct. 4 after leaving his Long Island City school and there have been few clues. However, a photo emerged of a boy sitting on the subway Wednesday that resembled Avonte, which the police are reviewing.
Hennessy discussed the efforts the department has gone to since Avonte went missing. “We have gone door-to-door, checked vacant lots, sewers, dumpsters, the railroads, you name it.”
“You’ve probably heard the helicopters and some people would have seen the scuba divers,” he said. “There are fliers everywhere—from bus and train stations, businesses—to every corner.”
However, Hennessy said he hasn’t given up hope. “We still get leads every day and we are working them.”
Hennessy said that precinct has had to divert cops to the search but that has not undermined policing efforts in other sections of the command (which covers Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City). “We have officers coming in from other precincts to supplement us with the search,” he said.
He said crime has been flat throughout the precinct since the search was conducted. He said last week there were 23 major crimes reported (the same number as last year) and crime dropped the week before.
In the past month, crime was essentially flat– up 2%. For the past 28 day period, 92 major crimes were reported, compared to 90 for the same period a year ago.
The number of assaults and auto break-ins dropped significantly—however, stolen motor vehicles accounted for the modest uptick.
In the past 28 days, 18 vehicles were stolen compared to seven for the prior year. Hennessy said six of the stolen vehicles were motorcycles—and some of the others were vehicles used to cart the motorcycles away in.