Nov. 10, 2023 By Rachel Butler
Approximately 50 Flushing residents gathered at the Bowne Street Community Church on Nov. 8 for the 109th Precinct Community Council meeting, during which many voiced concerns about stolen packages, burglaries and auto thefts.
A number of residents from the Latimer Gardens NYCHA complex on Linden Place in Flushing said that their packages were being stolen from outside their building and called on the NYPD to patrol the area.
Acting Commanding Officer Capt. Juan Terrero told the attendees that the NYPD would focus on the area. He also advised residents to report their stolen packages to the NYPD so they can find the perpetrator, rather than just notify Amazon.
He also recommended that residents work with their building superintendent to create a system whereby packages could be left in a specific locked room until they can collect them. He said that to combat the issue residents must make it as difficult as possible for the thieves.
Terrero also addressed the uptick in stolen vehicles.
The number of vehicles being stolen in the precinct has surged this year and Terrero noted that it has been a major problem throughout the city as well as in northeast Queens. Year-to-date, there have been 443 reports of stolen autos in the precinct, up 93% — from 229 — for the same period in 2022.
Terrero said that cars are often stolen in Flushing and taken to the Bronx. He said to combat the pattern, the NYPD has installed checkpoints on the entries and exits of highways and bridges to stop the thieves as they drive to the Bronx.
“We have set up mandatory checkpoints in areas that are known for the thief to drive through, and this is seeming to work,” Terrero said. “Three weeks ago, we seized 46 stolen cars with this method so we will continue to monitor the situation.”
Terrero said that Kia’s and Hyundai’s are the vehicles thieves are targeting due to a fault in their systems. Both lack an anti-theft device called an immobilizer, which prevents vehicles from starting when a key or key fob that does not match the car is used.
He advised owners of these makes to contact their dealership to have their software updated and to provide them with a steering wheel lock.
The meeting also included one resident who voiced her concern about two recent burglaries. Despite her concerns, burglaries were down 25.4% in the precinct for the 28-day period ending Nov. 5, compared to the same period last year. There were 44 burglaries reported in the 28-day period, compared to 59 in 2022.
However, Terrero mentioned that the precinct has seen a rise in home invasions and advised residents that the best thing to do in this situation is to leave their house and call 911.
“Do not try to confront these people. You don’t know how dangerous they could be, if they could be armed,” he said. “The best thing you can do is step outside or hide in a room where you can call 911.”
There has been a jump in felony assaults in the precinct this year, up 33.8% for the year through Nov. 5 compared to the same period last year.
Lt. Michael Kerrigan, who also addressed the attendees, attributed much of this increase to domestic violence cases, which are difficult for the NYPD to resolve at times. He also said more people are reporting them.
“We do a domestic violence outreach where we go to neighborhoods and hand out flyers and information,” Kerrigan said. “We have noticed more people coming forward and filing reports as a result of these outreaches. We just added another officer to our domestic violence department so now we have five. We are doing as much as we can to combat the problem.”
The former commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Louron Hall, also made an appearance and mentioned that he misses the northeast Queens community. He said he is committed to working with his replacement when one is appointed.
The precinct is currently waiting for a full-time commanding officer to replace Hall.