Oct. 30, 2014 By Michael Florio
Burglars are targeting Astoria–yet again.
There were 36 burglaries reported in the 28-day period ending Oct 19, compared to just 23 for the same period last year.
Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney, the commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, said there have been two main areas in Astoria that burglars have been targeting.
The first area is from 29th Street to Crescent Street, from Astoria Blvd to Ditmars Blvd, Maloney said. He said that in this area the thieves have been climbing up fire escapes and then gaining access through open windows.
The second favorite spot for burglars has been from 36th to 42nd Street (btwn 28 and 31st Avenues), Maloney said. While thieves have also been climbing up fire escapes, many have gained access by forcing their way through front doors.
Maloney said that when there is a spike in burglaries like this, it is often the work of one person or a crew.
“When we see a lot of incidents in a tight area, it’s usually an individual or a team of guys that work together,” he said. “We don’t know but we believe that all the burglaries going on are connected to one another.”
Astoria is not the only the only area in Western Queens that has seen an uptick in burglaries. Sunnyside, which is in the 108 Precinct, has also seen a jump in burglary activity.
Burglaries were a problem in Astoria earlier the year, but appeared to be on the decline in recent months. For instance, for the 28-day period ending September 14th, there were only 27 incidents compared to 35 for that period in 2013.
Nevertheless, the number of burglaries is up 16%– to 350– for the year through Oct. 19, compared to the same period a year ago.
The precinct has made 61 burglary-related arrests in 2014.
While burglaries are on the rise, there has been a decrease in the number of robberies and stolen vehicles, which had also been a problem earlier in the year.
In the last 28-day period, there were 14 reported robberies, compared to 26 for that period in 2013. As for stolen vehicles, there were 12 reported incidents over that span, compared to 18 in 2013.
Maloney believes that residents are learning how to prevent being a target of auto theft. He also said that a well publicized VIN etching event that the precinct hosted with Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas last month helped.
“That let everyone know that we are identifying cars,” he said. “They [stolen vehicles] are a lot easier for us to track now, even if they are taken for parts.”