Today’s news:

111th Precinct posts 8 percent crime jump

Police addressed crime statistics, the elevated terror threat and identity theft at the 111th Precinct Community Council’s first meeting of the year Tuesday night.

Capt. Thomas Pilkington, the precinct’s commander, said crime increased overall by 8.2 percent in the 111th Precinct in 2003. The precinct covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens and part of Auburndale.

Robberies were up 5 percent, felony assaults jumped by 75 percent and burglaries rose 15 percent, said Pilkington.

The felony assault increase came from incidents around bars in the early months of 2003, but the trend has since been turned around, he said.

A 14-year-old girl was arrested after she tried to rob someone at knifepoint outside MS 158 in Bayside, the captain said. A push-in robbery occurred late last month in the Winchester Estates section of Douglaston.

Rapes went down 16 percent and auto theft, traditionally a problem in the precinct, decreased by 26 percent.

Pilkington said few calls to the city’s terror tip line, (888) NYC-SAFE, originated from the 111th Precinct because the area lacked bridges or other obvious terror targets. The nation’s terror alert level was recently elevated to orange, the second highest level, although New York City has been at the orange level since Sept. 11, 2001.

Still, he said, “it’s important everybody stays vigilant. We can’t let our guard down.”

The captain also urged vigilance on identity theft, or the stealing of credit card, Social Security or other personal information for profit. He said people could avoid being victimized by shredding documents containing such information.

Pilkington also urged people to put themselves on alert status with credit agencies. The agencies then will call a credit card holder for verification in the event someone applied for a credit card in the person’s name.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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