Nov. 26, 2015 By Michael Florio
The crime rate has taken a nosedive this year in Astoria, based on the latest statistics provided by the 114th Precinct.
Captain Peter Fortune, the commanding officer of the 114 Precinct, said that the number of major crimes reported for the year through Nov. 22 has dropped 9 percent compared to the same period a year ago. He said that there have been 1,577 incidents in the precinct this year, down from 1,735 for the same period a year ago.
Crime also fell for the month, compared to November 2014. There were 133 reported incidents for the 28-day period ending Nov. 22, compared to 147 during the same 28-day period last year.
The number of reported burglaries plummeted this month, Fortune said. For the 28-day period ending Nov. 22, there were only 14 burglaries reported, compared to 37 for the same 28-day period in 2014.
The number of reported rapes in the past 28 days was three, the same figure as the 28-day period last year. The police have identified the three most recent alleged perpetrators. All three were known by the victims.
Fortune said that there were 27 felony assaults reported in the past 28 days, the same number as for the 28-day period a year ago. Of the 27 reported in the most recent period, 12 were domestic violence related, he said. Nineteen alleged perpetrators have been arrested.
The number of robberies was flat for the 28-day period through Nov. 22, at 24. Nine of those have been closed by arrests, Fortune said.
The precinct, however, did see some robbery patterns emerge in the past 28 days.
The first pattern consisted of two incidents, where two teenagers targeted youths for their electronic devices around Long Island City High School. The precinct worked with the principal and managed to arrests both perpetrators. They were both 16-year-olds that were suspended from the school.
Another pattern involved two men who robbed victims at gunpoint at the Woodside Houses. Fortune said the precinct has identified the suspects.
There have been similar incidents where people have been robbed at knife point at the Woodside Houses. “This happened twice in the same day just a couple of days ago,” he said. “We feel it is the same crew.”
However, one crime category has gone up.
The biggest increase was in the number of Grand Larceny Auto crimes reported. There were 18 incidents reported in the past 28 days, compared to 11 for the same period a year ago.
Six of the incidents involved stolen motorcycles.
Fortune said he spoke to his auto crime unit and was told that typically motorcycles are stolen between May and the end of the summer, because that is when people ride them. Also, once the summer ends riders sometimes arrange to have their own cycles stolen for insurance purposes.
“We will have to keep an eye on that and track it,” he said. “The auto crime unit is looking into it.”
The number of reported grand larcenies in the past 28-days was similar to last year. There were 47 reported compared to 46.
“Perpetrators are targeting electronics, specifically the iPhone 6,” he said. “It is easy for them to run behind you and swipe it, so stay alert while you are using your phone.”
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