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111th Precinct offers crime prevention tips

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With burglaries on the rise in northeast Queens’ 111th Precinct, police said this week there is one good way for residents to protect themselves: education.

The precinct’s commanding officer, Capt. Julio Ordonez, said in a recent interview that the public needs to be more aware of what’s going on in their neighborhoods and what crime prevention tips are available.

“A lot of times, when an incident takes place, people tell us they saw something suspicious but they weren’t sure. They didn’t want to bother us,” Ordonez said. “Please bother me. A good neighbor is a nosy neighbor.”

In February alone, burglaries in the Bayside-based precinct were double what they were in February 2001, crime statistics show.

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

111th officers said there were a number of steps residents could take to make themselves or their property less vulnerable to crime.

Community Affairs Officer Anthony Lombardi said the most important way to make a home less attractive to criminals is with lighting, both inside and outside a home.

“The majority of these houses that are getting robbed are dark,” said Lombardi, who pointed out that a dark house can be a signal to a potential thief that the home is vacant.

Using timers inside the house and motion sensor lighting outside can give the illusion that someone is present in the home and illuminate property, deterring thieves, he said.

Lombardi also said burglars tend to hide in tall bushes located near homes, so residents should be aware of landscaping as a crime prevention factor.

Doors and door frames can also be easy targets for those looking to force their way into a home, Lombardi said.

“You should have a strong, reinforced door frame,” said Lombardi, who also said residents should avoid doors with panes of glass in them. “If a door is on a rotting frame, they’ll just push the door right in.”

Deadbolt locks that do not slide all the way into the frame can also make it easy for a burglar to push in a door, Lombardi said.

Lombardi and Crime Prevention Officer Eddie Devine said the precinct offers a number of programs to help residents make their homes and neighborhoods more secure.

Lombardi said neighbors who can join the 111th’s Block Watchers program. Participating residents are assigned a confidential identification number by the precinct, he said.

“If they see anything suspicious, they can call 911 to report it and give the Block Watcher ID number instead of a name,” he said.

Devine said residents should take advantage of the precinct’s free security survey, during which the precinct evaluates a home’s doors and locks and also discusses alarm systems with a resident.

To reach the 111th’s community affairs officers, call 279-5295. For a free home security survey conducted by the precinct, call 279-5215.

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

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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