101 Pct.: Overall Crime Stats Down, But Grand Larcenies Up
In terms of crime statistics, the summer was good to the Far Rockaway area says Captain Andrew Lunetta, the new Executive Officer at the 101 Precinct. Lunetta made that announcement at the first Precinct Community Council meeting of the 2004-2005 year last week.
“We’re coming off of a great crime reduction the year before and even two years ago, and we’re reducing more,” said Lunetta, at the September 15 meeting.
At the time of his announcement to community leaders, overall crime was down in the precinct by 14 percent. Numbers for specific crimes were down in all areas but one – grand larceny.
The NYPD CompStat figures available for the week covering August 30 to September 5 show that grand larceny was up for the year to date by almost 35 percent.
“A lot of our increase in grand larceny’s has to do with unattended property,” explained Lunetta. “People who work in the schools, people who work in the hospitals... they just leave things unattended and we end up with a crime. It’s a good word to get out to be cautious about that type of thing to prevent that type of crime.”
The increase in grand larcenies continues a trend that started before the summer.
In the its May 7 issue, The Wave reported that at April’s precinct community council meeting, an announcement was made about a rise in theft of unattended belongings.
Such theft of unattended belongings in schools, hospitals, cars and stores can lead to identity theft if the wrong person gets credit card numbers, social security numbers or any other type of personal information.
“People open up cell phone accounts, credit card accounts – ID theft type of things,” warned Lunetta.
With respect to other areas of crime Lunetta reported that murders are down 33 percent, rapes are down 50 percent, felony assaults are down 10 percent, grand larceny auto are down 20 percent, and burglaries are down 10 percent.
He attributes the downturn in such areas as robberies (which are down over 38 percent), in part, to the hard work done by his fellow officers and supervisors who “do so well here on a daily basis.” By getting guns and drugs off the street, Lunetta said, “these translate into other things such as a huge reduction of robberies.”
He also pointed out the value of the public’s involvement in solving crimes.
“Everything is a team effort with the community,” Lunetta told those at the meeting.
“Any information you can give, we will use.”
There were three shootings over the summer. Two are solved.
“The big one that stands out is where six people were shot,” said Lunetta, referring to the shootings on the day of the Function at the Junction at Bayswater Park and Family Day at the Beach 41st Street Houses.
“As a result of a large crowd breaking up, and, maybe, somebody flashing gang signs... there was a shooting... including a homicide.”
“In the future at other events, we want to look more closely at the size of the crowd, the type of music that’s going on... we just want your understanding when we do that before we issue permits... [to] keep people safe and prevent any similar type of problems.”
Of the eight rapes, seven are solved. Lunetta said that the unsolved case is open and being investigated.
In response to a question from The Wave, he also addressed the expiration of the ban on assault weapons and the meaning it has for the community.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of people in the community that are possessing guns legally,” said Lunetta about the possibility of there being many gun collectors in the area. “I think if people are possessing them it’s going to be illegal from the start, and it’s going to be the same fight we always have to keep a tight rein on everything…I don’t think it’s going to hurt us.”
Lunetta also said that owning such weapons in New York City is still against the law.