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New commanding officer takes over as crime tumbles

Capt. Travaglia

Capt. Travaglia

Dec. 1, 2014 By Christian Murray

The crime rate took a nose dive in November throughout the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Woodside, Sunnyside and Long Island City.

Captain John Travaglia, the precinct’s new commanding officer who took the top job mid November, said that the crime rate for the past 28 day period had dropped 31%, compared to the same 28-day period a year ago.

The decline was driven by the fall in property-related crimes, with there being 10 burglaries in the past 28 day period–compared to 15 for the same 28-day period a year ago.

Six of those burglaries were in Sunnyside.

The number of robberies dropped from 12 to 11, grand larcenies from 46 to 32 and stolen vehicles from 18 to eight.

The decline came at an opportune time for Capt. John Travaglia since he held his first monthly precinct meeting last Tuesday.

Travaglia, takes the reins from Capt. Brian Hennessy, who was in attendance and received several awards and platitudes from members of the police community council as well as political leaders.

“It was a great honor to work in this community for 18 months,” Hennessy said. “The support of the community…was above and beyond what I ever would have expected.” Hennessy was appointed to take the top job at the 115th Precinct, which covers neighborhoods such as Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

Travaglia said he has big shoes to fill following Hennessy who has left the command in “spectacular shape” and as a “well oiled machine.”

Travaglia said that he had worked for 22 years for the NYPD with the past seven months in the 114th Precinct in Astoria as the executive office (No. 2 in the precinct). Prior to that, he had worked as the executive officer for 3 ½ years at the 104 Precinct in Maspeth. He also spent 10 years working in highway patrol.

Travaglia said his familiar with this part of Queens through working in the 104 and 114th

However, when it comes to property-related crimes, Travaglia said the police department needs feedback from the community.

“I am not going to sugar coat it, we cannot solve those crimes alone,” Travaglia saoid.

“They have to be solved with the community; someone giving us the heads up, someone seeing something out of place, someone saying those people do not look right by that house, and calling us just before a burglary occurs.”

“I can work in this precinct 80 hours a week for the next five years but I am not going to know the precinct like someone who has lived here for the past 20 or 30 years – something is going to look out of place to me but it will look out of place [to long time residents] quicker.”

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Mark Masefield

The main reason burglaries and property-related crimes continue to happen in the area is that they’re not pursued by the police. I had my car broken into in Woodside and my wallet was stolen from the glove box. My credit card was used, and I tracked down the bodega it was swiped at. When I heard nothing from the detective that was supposed to reach me, I went to the bodega, got the name of the employee working at the time my credit card was used, his hours for the week, and found out that there was security tape footage from at the time/location where my card was swiped and declined. $150+ was attempted on the card, a memorable price-tag at a small bodega at 3am, so the store clerk would surely remember something… this in conjunction with the security footage should have been a pretty solid lead on whoever broke into my car. So I reached out to the precinct and got in touch with the detective on the case. I told him everything I found out, and he said he’d get on it and update me as soon as possible. I heard nothing back for about three weeks. I finally got a call back and he said something along the lines of, “Sorry I ended up going on vacation and didn’t get to your case. Do you have any info that can help us?” He lost all the notes I gave him, including the info about the address of the bodega, info on the employee who declined the credit card, the fact that camera footage existed, and even the date of the burglary… the date should at least be noted on the police report I filed. I gave him all the info again and he said he’d let me know if he heard anything. I was doubtful that the security footage would still exist 3-4 weeks later and pretty sure the store clerk had forgotten the face of the person who got declined. I still haven’t heard anything back, and I’m very curious if the detective ever visited the bodega. Of course cars are going to continue to be broken into… there’s no consequences. Also in Woodside, my brother had his computer, camera, iPad, and cash stolen from his apartment. The “find my iPad” app brought the detective directly to the building of where it ended up, and they didn’t pursue it because there were too many apartments in the building. Stories like these are almost an invitation to burglarize.


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