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105th Precinct’s murder rate jumps 250 percent

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"What's really alarming is my shootings and homicides," Deputy Inspector Thomas Manzolillo said at the precinct's Queens Village headquarters during the monthly gathering of the 105th's Community Council, a forum for residents to voice their concerns to police.

Manzolillo said the precinct had arrested suspects in most of the cases and had taken steps to address the problem, adding that residents could take some solace in that the killings did not seem to be drug-related or retaliatory in nature.

Through May 16 the murder rate in the 105th Precinct had jumped 250 percent to seven homicides compared with the same period the previous year when two were recorded. During that time, however, an overall 14 percent drop in major crimes was also reported by the precinct, which runs from Glen Oaks in the north to Brookville in the south and is the borough's largest.

Manzolillo said the 105th had identified stretches of Linden and Merrick boulevards as "shooting zones" and had begun special initiatives in those areas, with beat officers' schedules adjusted to the time periods when most of the murders took place. As a preventive measure, he also said the precinct would crack down on loud parties this summer, particularly "jumper parties," where people pay money to enter a backyard gathering.

Such events often lead to violence or vandalism and will not be tolerated once the precinct receives noise complaints, Manzolillo said. "When they go, they're going to take the speaker wires and give a criminal summons," he said of his officers, adding that the precinct would be devoting more manpower to the issue than it had in the past.

"I'm really going to get a lot of people involved in the noise initiative this year," he said. "If it doesn't work, we'll try something else." Manzolillo advised residents in the 105th to take down any party flyer they see and report it to the precinct's Community Affairs section, so that police can set up checkpoints.

During the council meeting, Manzolillo introduced Sgt. Brian Minogue as the new head of the precinct's Community Affairs section, previously comprised of two lower-ranking officers. The appointment, Manzolillo explained after the meeting, was made to give the section more clout within the precinct and to give it the capability to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Manzolillo began planning the change after leaving his commander's post at the 106th Precinct to become the head of the 105th in February.

Manzolillo also awarded April's Cop of the Month Award to Police Officer Robert Rizzotto, a much-loved member of the precinct. Rizzotto pulled over a car, which he soon realized had been reported stolen from Nassau County the day before, Manzolillo said. Inside, he found more than 250 pieces of counterfeit IDs and arrested the driver, who was out on parole after a two-year robbery stint, Manzolillo said.

The commander said it was just the latest in a string of arrests by Rizzotto.

"He's my go-to guy," Manzolillo said. "I'm always asking him to do more stuff for me."

Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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