While Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, said in an email to the community last week that officers have had a “difficult time fighting” auto break-ins and thefts, he noted the precinct just nabbed a 46-year-old man “red-handed” as he was breaking into an unsecured vehicle near 137th Avenue and 97th Street on April 16 at 2:25 a.m.
Willis Fairbanks, who lives in the 102nd Precinct, was arrested and plead guilty on April 17 to unauthorized use of a vehicle. After serving 10 days in jail, he is expected to be released, according to Schiff.
“We will be keeping an eye out for him in the future, and we are hoping so will our community,” the deputy inspector wrote.
Schiff also reported in the same email that following a rash of crime last month, no burglaries have been reported beginning March 22 – something residents and civic leaders have attributed to an increase in officers in the area, as well as other police resources.
Following a meeting of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic last month, at which hundreds of concerned residents turned out to speak about the spike in burglaries, the NYPD deployed the Queens South Task Force to work in Howard Beach in an effort to supplement the precinct’s patrol. Additional marked cars have been in the area, and one of the task force vehicles had a license plate reader that monitored vehicles coming in and out of the area.
Additionally, a command post truck had been stationed at 160th Avenue between 88th and 89th streets to assist with what NYPD Deputy Chief David Barrere, the relatively new commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South, called “our burglary deployment plan.”
“We are all very grateful for the assistance, which has made a tremendous difference in stopping any possible additional burglaries from occurring,” Schiff wrote. “While we can’t discuss the actual ongoing burglary investigations, we can tell you that we are following up on some leads that have been generated with the community’s help.”
“As the extra forces are redeployed to other areas of Queens South suffering from shootings and homicides, the 106th Precinct will do its best to maintain the newly generated calmness of the area,” Schiff continued.
By Anna Gustafson