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Grand Larcenies Driving Recent Spike In Astoria Crime

June 30, 2016 By Michael Florio

A jump in grand larcenies has been driving recent crime rates in the 114 Precinct.

Crime was up nearly 30 percent in the past 28-day period ending June 26, compared to the same period last year, police stats indicate. Stolen property and vehicles were behind that spike, according to Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, the commanding officer of the 114 Precinct.

Grand Larceny is up to 70 incidents during this period, compared to just 48 for the same 28-day period last year. Many of these crimes involved property being left in vehicles, as well as property being left unattended.

More than 20 of these incidents specifically involved laptops, wallets and expensive tools being left in cars, according to Fortune. The majority of those 20 occurred south of Broadway and east of 31st Street.

“The same person will walk and walk until they see something valuable,” Fortune said. “They then break the window and are off with your property.”

Another issue has been theft of property such as purses and wallets left unattended. These thefts are up to 28 incidents, compared to 12 in the 28-day period last year, and occur most frequently in Rite Aid, CVS and doctors’ offices, Fortune said.

“You go to quickly grab something and someone walks off with your stuff,” Fortune said.

One thief in particular has been targeting hybrid car batteries, which are worth up to $3,000, according to Fortune. However, a suspect was arrested last week after stealing three batteries in the 114 precinct and two in the 108 precinct, Fortune said.

There has also been an increase in grand larceny auto incidents, as 22 vehicles have been stolen compared to 15 during this period last year. Seven of those stolen autos were motorcycles. The precinct has identified a local crew that they believe is responsible for the crime spike.

“We have identified the three men doing this,” Fortune said. “We will put an end to this.”

Burglaries have increased, but that is in comparison to a historically low period for burglaries in 2015, according to Fortune. There have been 18 burglaries in the past 28 days, while there were only 12 in this period in 2015. Of those, 10 were residential and eight are commercial. Eight appear to be connected to crime patterns, Fortune said.

Currently, there are three active burglary patterns in the 114, all of which involve crews from outside of Astoria, Fortune said. They are being investigated, but are difficult due to the many people involved, he said.

“They have look outs and getaway drivers,” Fortune said. “We are confident though we will put an end to it.”

Rapes have also increased, as there were six reported incidents during this 28-day period in 2016, compared to one in 2015. All six suspects knew the victims, Fortune said. Three were domestic violence and two were statutory.

Robberies have been flat, with 14 during the 28-day period last year and in 2016. However, the precinct has identified two robbery patterns in the neighborhood.

The first occurs on 41st Street between Broadway and 31st Avenue. Two black males, about 25 years old, have struck three times. In one incident the victim claims a firearm was used, in another a knife and in the third, physical force.

The second pattern occurs in the vicinity of the Ravenswood Houses. Three black males come from behind and use physical force to commit the robberies. The precinct has them on video running back towards the Ravenswood Houses.

Felony assaults are down from 32 in 2015 to 30, with 22 of those closed due to arrests. Fourteen of those incidents are domestic violence.

There have been no shootings in the past 28 days.

Murder has also declined during this stretch, from two incidents in 2015 to zero this year.

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