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The Civic Scene: Use your common sense in order to prevent crimes

The January-February newsletter of the Jamaica Estates Association warns members about ATM card robberies in Queens. The police are searching for criminals who robbed women and abducted them and used their ATM cards in and around Jamaica Estates.

Last April, three men forced a 63-year-old woman into the trunk of her car, taking her belongings and using her ATM card to withdraw money. On Jan. 14 in Jamaica Hill, two men tried to force a 58-year-old woman into her car, but fled when the woman screamed. Neither woman was seriously hurt. The police have asked people who have any information on these crimes to contact 1-800-577-TIPS.

The Jamaica Estates Association listed crime prevention programs available at the 107th Precinct. For more information, call 718-969-5998.

The West Cunningham Park Civic Association and the Civic Association of Utopia Estates had 107th Capt. Michael Coyle as their guest speaker at their Dec. 8 joint meeting. The captain and community affairs officers attended the meeting, gave a presentation about the status of crime in the community and answered questions.

The December and February newsletters of the Holliswood Civic Association had a number of articles concerning crime in the community. Homeowners have to report crimes so the police have information to develop profiles. If anyone comes to your door saying they are poll or utility workers and you are not expecting them, check their IDs or call 718-969-5100. Do not let people into your house.

Homeowners’ licensed cars may be parked in front of their homes indefinitely, cars without license plates are not allowed on streets and no cars may be left in the same place for seven days. Call the 107th to check out the license plate of a car left in front of your house and they may tow it. No commercial vehicles may be left on the street overnight. If a car blocks your driveway, call the 107th or 911.

The February 2011 Holliswood Civic newsletter had a neighborhood security alert. There has been a rash of burglaries and attempted burglaries through rear kitchen windows. Burglar alarms can be helpful and large plants on the rear kitchen window may be a deterrent.

Never leave windows open for air unless they have a locking mechanism while the window is partly open. People should watch their neighbors’ backyards, leave a light on and call 911 if they see suspicious cars or people. Lights inside and outside one’s house make the property look lived-in. Too many people do not leave any lights on to save money, but some new bulbs last for a long time and do not use much electricity.

People should put their addresses on the backs of their houses so neighbors will know what addresses to give if they see anything suspicious. Cars should never be left unlocked in one’s driveway and never leave anything in plain view in your car which might invite a break-in.

The police gather information you supply them, develop profiles of crime patterns and can often catch criminals. Recently, a couple of men were targeting Asian women leaving buses in Fresh Meadows around 184th Street who were distracted while talking on their cell phones. The 107th Precinct figured out a pattern and these criminals were arrested.

Crimes usually occur in waves. Criminals do a certain type of crime in a neighborhood until caught by the police. Smart criminals do not stay in one place and move around. Smart homeowners make their houses look lived-in so criminals go to the next vacant-looking house.

WAYS TO BALANCE GOVERNMENT BUDGETS: Another way to save money is to consolidate agencies, departments and activities. There is too much government redundancy. Yes, it could cause displacements and hardships for some government workers, but I see the big corporations doing it all the time. There has to be a will to consolidate because we cannot afford to spend so much money on wasted departments. I have not heard much from Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the closing of upstate prisons which are almost empty. There must be some use for some of these buildings.

City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has singled out the hiring of expensive technology consultants by the city Department of Education. He believes consultants should be eliminated instead of firing teachers. This can apply to all levels of government. It is ironic that many of these consultants are retired government workers who may have come from the same agency they are now working for.

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