Increase In Stolen Autos Reported In 101 Precinct
By Miriam Rosenberg
A rise in the theft of automobiles has led to the release of a letter by Captain Walter Salowski, the Commanding Officer of the 101 Precinct, to warn residents about the problem and inform the community about the measures that can be taken to protect their vehicles.
The models that are being targeted most often are 1990-2003 Honda Accords and Civics and Nissan Altima’s from the late 1990’s, according to police sources.
At a community precinct meeting on November 16, Lt. Michael Barreto gave some tips to keep Far Rockaway residents from becoming victims of car theft.
“The most important thing is do not leave your car running,” said Barreto, who acknowledged that – in cold weather months – many people tend to leave their cars unattended with the motor running to warm the vehicle up.
“Do not leave any valuable stuff in your cars like wallets and cell phones, especially your registration and your insurance because if your car gets stolen the first thing we’re going to ask you is where are the papers for your car.”
Barreto also suggested that drivers be aware of the surroundings where they park in case their car should be broken into.
“Look at what cars are in front of you and behind,” explained Barreto. “If you happen to know the license plate, we can run it so we can contact these people to see if they saw anything.”
In addition to Barreto’s suggestions, the precinct has four anti-auto theft programs that can help citizens protect their cars from thieves.
The programs are glass VIN etching, C.A.T. Program (Combat Auto Theft), Computer C.A.T. and H.E.A.T. (Help End Auto Theft). Each program is designed to help deter car thieves.
The glass etching permanently etches the VIN number onto all the windows in the car. The etching decreases the value of an auto to a potential thief, and – if necessary – helps track the vehicle or stolen parts. Another advantage is that some insurance companies will give discounts for those who take part in the Vin etching program.
The C.A.T. Program and Computer C.A.T. program are basically the same. A sticker on the rear window allows the police department to stop cars during hours of the day that the owner normally doesn’t have the auto in use. The C.A.T. program authorizes the police to stop the vehicle during the early morning hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., and the Computer C.A.T. program permits the department to stop a car during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The H.E.L.P. (Help End Auto Theft) program is available to registered owners of autos who are city residents and are 40 or older. Decals on the car tells the police that, if vehicle if it is being driven by anyone 25 or younger, it is without the owners permission. The police are permitted to stop and check the auto.
Salowski reminded those at the meeting that the community is the department’s eyes and ears on the street.
“If you see something, call. We’ll be there in less than four minutes,” said Salowski.
For more on the auto anti-theft programs citizens can call the 101 precinct and speak to Officer Jan Silverberg at 718 868-3426.