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109th gets 37 new officers to fight jump in burglaries

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As part of the city’s push to concentrate on areas where crime has increased, an additional force of 37 police officers has been brought to the 109th Precinct to target downtown Flushing.

The 109th Precinct, which covers Flushing, Whitestone, College Point and Bay Terrace, was one of the few precincts in Queens to experience a rise in crime in 2002. With an influx of immigrants in recent years, many residents of the area have complained that the 109th Precinct is understaffed.

The new force includes a lieutenant, four sergeants and 32 officers, said Detective Frank Seabrook of the 109th Precinct. Most of the officers were brought in from other assignments in Patrol Borough Queens North, and many will be replaced by rookies next month, Seabrook said.

“The decision was based on crime stats as well as the population density,” Seabrook said.

Seabrook estimated the 109th had a force of 170 before the transfer. Like the rest of the city, the precinct has lost officers as a result of budget cuts since Sept. 11, 2001.

The new group, which started working at the precinct Jan. 3, will focus on downtown Flushing during afternoon and evening hours as part of “Operation Impact.”

The police campaign marks the second time in recent months that additional officers have been assigned to the Flushing precinct.

In November, a suppression team of 21 officers came to the 109th to tackle burglaries throughout the precinct.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 29 there were 1,080 burglaries in the 109th, and 954 in 2001, marking an increase of 13.2 percent. The 109th Precinct had more burglaries than any other precinct in the city last year.

Grand larcenies also increased by 6.5 percent, and six people were murdered in the precinct in 2002, compared with five the previous year.

Rapes, however, dropped from 22 to 15, and car thefts decreased by 7.7 percent. The rates of robberies and assaults remained virtually unchanged.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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