May 24, 2017 By Jason Cohen
Crime continues to fall in the 114th Precinct, down more than 15 percent during the 28-day period ending May 21, compared to the same 28-day stretch in 2016.
The number of rapes reported during the 28-day period were down from four to one, robberies from 17 to 12, burglaries 19 to seven, and stolen vehicles from 17 to five. The precinct covers Astoria and small pieces of Long Island City, Woodside, and Jackson Heights.
The month did include the year’s first murder. On May 15, a 38-year-old man was shot and killed by two unknown men at the Queensbridge Houses in a suspected gang related incident.
Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, the commanding officer, did note that there was an uptick in the number of felony assaults and grand larcenies over the course of the past 28 days.
Felony assaults increased from 18 to 22, with the majority of the alleged perpetrators arrested. While grand larcenies went up from 50 to 52, Fortune explained that the majority of those crimes involved people leaving their jacket or purse unattended at a bar or coffee shop and then discovering it gone.
“Just be aware when you go into these places to keep an eye on your pocketbooks,” Fortune said.
Two officers that were credited with reducing crime in the district were Patrick O’Brien and Craig Zaleski, who were both awarded ‘Cop of the month’ for April.
On April 15, O’Brien and his fellow officers observed a man looking over his shoulder constantly and walking in a suspicious manner. They followed him for more than an hour and at around 6:30 p.m. they caught him breaking into a construction site on 38th Ave.
The alleged perpetrator left the site with several tools and was quickly placed under arrest. Police then pinned an additional eight arrests on the man alleging that he was part of a string of auto thefts. The man was a career criminal who had 31 prior arrests, Fortune said.
On April 23, Zaleski was on patrol at 2:30 a.m., when he pulled a car over at 21st St. and 41st Ave., for a defective brake light. He observed four passengers with open alcohol containers and smelled marijuana. He asked everyone to step out of the vehicle and immediately, one person ran into the Queensbridge Houses.
Upon further search of the vehicle, Zaleski discovered a loaded 40 caliber semi-automatic firearm. Three of the four people were later identified as well known gang members who were responsible for several acts of violence in the precinct.