The year 2013 was one of progress for the Ridgewood-based 104th Precinct, with overall crime numbers dipping well below this time last year, officers said.
Five of the seven major crime categories – excluding homicides and grand larcenies – were down anywhere from six to 15 percent, 104th Capt. Christopher Manson said, helping to bring the precinct’s overall numbers down 4.1 percent with more than 4,000 arrests and 13,200 summonses in the books by year’s end.
Manson, the commanding officer of the 104th, sat down with reporters last week to go over the year’s final numbers and outline where the precinct was headed in 2014. The 104th covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth.
The captain said felony assaults fell 6.1 percent this year, rapes were down 6.7 percent, robberies dipped 8.9 percent, burglaries dropped 12.6 percent, and grand larceny autos fell 15.7 percent.
Of those drops in crime, Manson said he was particularly proud of the decline in burglaries throughout the central Queens precinct, as that category is often used as a barometer for the officers’ effectiveness.
Homicides, however, were up this year with three reported incidents in 2013 compared to zero last year, Manson said. Grand larcenies also saw a 9.5-percent increase compared to this time in 2012, the captain said.
To put the numbers in perspective, Manson said the 104th Precinct’s total crime statistics were down 78.6 percent over the past 20 years, and 44.3 percent over Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year administration.
And with New Year’s Eve approaching, Manson said the 104th would be upping its presence in central Queens to deter any chaos that might ensue with holiday celebrations. He said officers would be keeping an eye out for drunk drivers, specifically in the 15-minute span immediately following the midnight celebrations.
“We’ll be increasing coverage near all the nightlife in the area,” he said. “We want to make sure people make it home safely.”
One particular burglary pattern targeting vulnerable businesses throughout southwest Queens has become a thorn in the side of 104th cops over recent months, Manson said. The captain said two incidents – one in late September and another in early December – saw burglars breaking into storefronts and stealing cash from their ATMs and cash registers.
Police said an unknown number of burglars busted into the San Remo Pizzeria at 56-01 Myrtle Ave. in Ridgewood on Sept. 21 before going through the wall and into a furniture store next-door and taking roughly $9,500 in cash.
A similar crime was recorded Dec. 17 in Middle Village, Manson said, in which the suspects broke into Andy’s Deli on 82-17 Eliot Ave. through the roof and hit the ATM before breaking through the wall and into the neighboring D&P Convenience Store. In that incident, Manson said suspects walked away with more than $600 in cash from the register alone.
“Some of these businesses had video surveillance – but not all of them,” Manson said. “Commercial should places should be equipped with alarm systems and video surveillance. It’s a smart practice to have.”
By Phil Corso