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111th Pct. arrests robbery teams to blunt burglary spree

Commanding Officer Jason Huerta (r.) reports a decline in burglaries since the 111th Precinct made several arrests in recent weeks. Photo by Phil Corso
TimesLedger Newspapers

A recent spike in burglaries has been brought to halt after a series of arrests in Bayside, the 111th Precinct said.

At the precinct’s monthly community council meeting Tuesday in Bayside, Commanding Officer Jason Huerta said several teams of robbers were arrested over recent weeks, putting a serious dent in the burglary pattern that reached 20 cases in a one-week span at the end of November between Northern Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway.

The late-November home burglary uptick led to an increased focus on civilian patrols, but 111th Community Council President Jack Fried said police were instead only interested in expanding their block-watcher program.

“These were very active crews,” Huerta said of the suspects with equipment potentially as sophisticated as night vision goggles. “In the end, this costs us the year in crime.”

Huerta said the precinct made several arrests after increasing patrols in the most affected areas of the neighborhood and was working closely with the Queens district attorney to seek convictions.

According to the precinct’s year-end statistics, crime in 2012 rose roughly 4.5 percent when compared to 2011, with this year’s 241 burglaries being a major contributing factor beating out last year’s number of 203. The 111th Precinct covers Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and part of Auburndale.

Huerta said neighborhoods in Bayside and Douglaston were primary targets of the burglary spike because of wealthy homeowners’ proximity to major highways.

The only other crime out of the seven major categories to increase more than burglaries in 2012 was felony assaults, which rose 24.5 percent with 61 incidents compared to 49 last year.

“Burglary is a terrible crime and we don’t like to see it,” Huerta said. “But luckily, it is now on a decline.”

The precinct’s community council hosted a burglary prevention presentation at its January meeting to reiterate the importance of shoring up homes to prevent any further crimes.

Beyond the recent burglary spike, the 111th Precinct also reported a rising trend in car break-ins near the southern half of the neighborhood surrounding the Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway. According to Huerta, as many as 25 cars were hit in one night by a suspect who was caught on camera while in the act of stealing anything visible from parked cars in the area.

As for 2013, Huerta said the total number of crimes in the precinct was down by two so far when compared to the same time period last year, which was a good indication of a better year ahead.

“I’m optimistic it is going to look good going forward,” Huerta said.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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