106th Pct. Sees Crime Spike

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

Despite a recent rise in crime in the 106th Precinct, the commanding officer says better days are ahead.

Deputy Inspector Jeffery Schiff stopped by the sparsely-attended Community Board 10 meeting last week to give a detailed update on recent crime numbers and trends happening within his command.

Schiff said the 106th finished 2013 up in crime overall. Sixty-three more crimes took place in the command compared to last year, a four percent increase. The 106th covers several neighborhoods in Southern Queens, including Howard Beach, Lindenwood, South Ozone Park and parts of Ozone Park.

More specifically, the 106th saw a spike in several crimes for the past 12 months, including homicides, rapes and robberies.

Robberies, in particular, were notable for its increase in the past calendar year. There were 328 robberies compared to 312 in 2012.

The reason for that spike, according to Schiff, is the number of robberies related to electronic devices like iPhones and Beats by Dre headphones.

“I read a lot of these reports and it’s the individual walking down the street, unaware of their surroundings and then all of a sudden they’re surprised,” Schiff said.

He added the type of weapon the perpetrators used varied between a gun, knife or a group of people teaming up on a single person.

Schiff also discussed recent demands by Howard Beach residents for an increased police presence in that neighborhood following two recent carjackings.

He said that while he has deployed some plain clothes units and auxiliary officers in the area, he needs to send his manpower to where crimes are occurring more often. Howard Beach only had 12 robberies in 2013, according to Schiff.

“And having one robbery a month in Howard Beach, it doesn’t lend itself to a massive wave of personnel,” he said. “I’m not saying we ignore Howard Beach. We do not ignore Howard Beach.”

Despite the increase in crime, Schiff said crimes like robberies have tapered off towards the latter part of the year and the precinct is down on other crimes for the year like grand larceny auto and burglaries.

He added they will think outside the box when patrolling the area so they can aim at decreasing crime overall.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda.