Aug. 28, 2014 By Christian Murray
While the suspect who broke in to three Vernon Boulevard restaurants this summer is still at large, the police report that no further incidents have taken place on the boulevard and that crime throughout the precinct is down.
Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer for the 108 police precinct, said that the police have stepped up their presence on Vernon Boulevard following the incidents. He said the last break-in occurred on July 4, when the perpetrator smashed his way through a side window at LIC Bar.
The break-in at LIC Bar came just weeks after the same perpetrator smashed his way through the glass front door at Manducatis Rustica on June 22 and at Woodbines on June 25. In both incidents, he stole iPads and computer equipment.
Despite these break-ins, Hennessy said that the number of reported crimes throughout the precinct (which covers LIC, Sunnyside and Woodside) has declined, down 28% for the 28 days through August 24, compared to the same 28-day period a year ago. Crime is down 2.4% year-to-date.
This time last year, there were several incidents of criminals breaking into cars and stealing handbags and laptops—particularly on 44th Drive in Long Island City. The number of grand larcenies—many from auto break-ins—fell from 49 incidents for the 28-day period last year, to 32 compared for this year’s period.
“We have locked up quite a few individuals [for these crimes],” Hennessy said, many of whom have been incarcerated since. He said the precinct has made 30 arrests so far this year for people breaking into cars—double the number from last year.
Hennessy said the police were able to arrest the perpetrators following sting operations in Long Island City where they would put handbags in vehicles and then catch the thieves breaking in.
The number of felony assaults has declined throughout the precinct over the same 28-day summer period compared to last year. There were seven incidents, compared to 18 for the same summer period last year.
“Last year we had a number of assaults near bars and clubs,” Hennessy said. This summer, he added, a greater number of officers focused on bars on the late-night tours.
There were 13 stolen vehicles—down from 15– during the 28-day-period. One of the stolen vehicles was a Vespa, taken from Center Boulevard.
There have been 25 motorbikes stolen in the precinct this year, representing well over a quarter of the 92 vehicles taken. Furthermore, many of the cars stolen have been Ford Econoline vans—which the thieves use to cart away the motorbikes.
There were no murders in the 28 day period. Through August 24, there have been 2 murders so far this year—compared to 3 for same period a year ago.
The police have targeted bicyclists this summer. In the past 28 days, 105 tickets were issued—representing more tickets than for the entire 2013 year.
“The majority of the tickets were for disobeying stop signs and going through red lights,” Hennessy said.
The clamp down is part of the city’s focus on Vision Zero, which aims to reduce the number of traffic fatalities to zero.
“This time last year there were 12 fatals in car accidents,” Hennessy said, referring to the 108 precinct. “We are at zero so far this year.”
The captain is doing a great job with the amount of officers he has to population in LIC.
They should patrol 46th Rd in between 5th and Vernon more often…every weekend more and more smashed on the cars parked there.