2011-10-07 / Top Stories

Hurricane Of House Break-Ins

By Howard Schwach

House break-ins on the west end of Rockaway have surged by 120 percent this year, the worst crime increase of any precinct in the city, NYPD CompStat statistics show.

This year, to date, there have been 92 burglaries in the 100 Precinct, compared with 42 at this time last year.

In the last month alone, there have been 17 burglaries, compared with four for the same period last year – a 325 percent rise.

For the past two weeks, police officers have spread out over a large section of Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor, knocking on doors and handing out flyers to local residents.

Their message?

Keep your doors and windows secured.

“The great majority of [the burglaries] have been break-ins through unsecured doors and windows. They cut through the screens and walk in, taking jewelry and cash and whatever else they can quickly get their hands on,” said 100 Precinct commanding officer, Captain Scott Olexa, who had detailed special units to cover the area most often hit by the burglar(s).

Olexa defines the area in which the burglar(s) have struck as a grid between Beach 127 Street and 136 Street and between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Cronston Avenue.

“I can’t emphasize the need to keep windows and doors secured, especially when residents are away from the house,” Olexa told The Wave. “Doing that would cut down significantly on the burglary pattern.

Residents who were involved in the burglaries, but who asked not to be identified for fear they would be targeted again, said that they believe that the perpetrator is a young light-skinned Hispanic or white man in his late 20s or early 30s, who rides around the neighborhood on his bicycle looking for a target of opportunity.

Local Democratic Leader Lew Simon told the New York Post that the burglaries “started sometime around the time of the hurricane,” and has continued unabated ever since.

The Post report says that the burglar has been taking “jewelry, bikes, cash, electronics and even potted plants.”

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