Today’s news:

111th Pct. sees 15% crime drop

Crime in northeast Queens’ 111th Police Precinct declined by slightly more than 15 percent in the first six months of 2001, Capt. Kevin Fitzgerald said, although there has been an increase of about 12 percent in robberies so far this year in the Bayside-based precinct.

Fitzgerald, who took command of the 111th Precinct late last year, credited the efficiency of the officers in the precinct as well as the crime analysis tools at his disposal for the crime drop.

“The officers in the last few years have really come aboard,” he said. “Everything’s been fine-tuned.”

Fine-tuned, indeed. According to New York Police Department statistics, overall crime in the seven major crime categories — murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft — in the 111th Precinct has declined nearly 70 percent since 1993.

In the first six months of 2001 645 crimes were reported to police within the 111th, Fitzgerald said, compared to 764 incidents reported during the same time period the year before.

While car theft continued to be the precinct’s biggest problem with 281 incidents reported so far in 2001, the only crime that recorded an increase was robbery, which jumped by slightly more than 12 percent.

So far this year 83 robberies were reported, Fitzgerald said, compared to 74 robberies reported in 2000. But auto thefts dropped to 281 from 328 incidents in the first half of 2000, Fitzgerald said, for a 14 percent decrease.

Pointing to several maps on his office wall showing different sections of the 9-square-mile area of the precinct where tiny colored pins are used to track crimes like auto theft, Fitzgerald said “all you have to do is look” to see where crimes are happening.

“It’s not that simple,” the captain admitted. “But the pin mapping is part of it.”

The captain also credited the city’s decision to have police work overtime with making more manpower available, new computerized reporting systems that allow commanding officers to check out activity in their precincts for the last 28 days at a glance, and cooperation between the police and courts.

“Now if a repeat offender is getting out of jail, everybody knows about it,” Fitzgerald said.

The 111th Precinct includes Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, and parts of Auburndale, Fresh Meadows, Flushing and Hollis Hills.

There have been no murders so far this year, Fitzgerald said, compared to two in the first six months of 2000. The number of rapes in the 111th Precinct stayed the same at two, he said.

The largest drop in the first six months of 2001 came in the category of burglary, Fitzgerald said, with 106 reported in 2001 and 171 reported to police in 2000 for a 38 percent decline.

Felonious assaults in the precinct also decreased, Fitzgerald said, with 34 reported in 2001 and 41 reported to police in 2000 for a 17 percent decline.

Grand larcenies also dropped, he said, with 138 reported in 2001 and 146 reported in 2000 for a 5 percent decline.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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