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However, the eight reported rapes in 2004 marked a 100 percent increase from four cases in 2003 in the precinct, which covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens, and part of Auburndale. According to 111th Captain Thomas Pilkington, there have been arrests made in five of the year's rape cases, and only one case was a "stranger-forced rape"--the rest were statutory or acquaintance rape cases. Of the four rapes in 2003, three were by strangers, he said.The precinct's sole 2004 homicide, the May murder of a Canadian woman whose body was found in a supermarket dumpster on 73rd Avenue, remains unsolved. The investigation is ongoing, but there are still no suspects at this time, according to police. There were two homicides in 2003.The second largest crime decrease in the 111th came in burglary cases. Burglaries dropped from 501 cases in 2003 to 357 cases in 2004, a decline of 28.7 percent. "That was attributed to first and foremost the takedown of the Codwise crew earlier this year. They were a bulk of last year's burglaries," Pilkington said of the notorious gang held responsible for 300 home burglaries in northeast Queens. More than fifty of the gang's 58 members were arrested in April."Also, we opened better communication with Nassau County and Queens (Patrol Borough) South," he said. "Lastly we've been targetting who we've believed to be burglary recidivists. We don't actually catch them doing burglaries, but we catch them smoking marijuana, or shoplifting. We make every effort to use every law in the books against these people." He noted the precinct's burglary arrests rose 48% in 2004.In other major crime categories tracked by the Police Department's CompStat Unit, robberies in the 111th decreased 5.3 percent, from 2003's 112 cases to 106 cases. Grand larcenies also declined, with 540 cases in 2003 to 505 cases in 2004, a 6.4 percent decrease. Automobile thefts dropped from 344 cases in 2003 to 287 cases in 2004, a decline of 16.5 percent."According to the stats, we're the best in the city. At a 17.78 percent drop in crime, we're tops," Pilkington said. "Plus, there has been almost an 18% increase in arrests, with less personnel. We're doing more with less." Beyond major crime, he noted that traffic accidents were also down 5.4 percent in the precinct in 2004, with an 11 percent drop in pedestrian accidents and a 5.1 percent decrease in injury accidents. And despite the separate July accidents that took the life of eight-year-old Joseph Baik and critically injured 12-year-old Nicholas Ho, bicycle accidents decreased 33 percent, Pilkington said. "This is largely due to the right enforcement at the right time in the right area," he said. "We also do a lot of lecturing to the community, civic associations, the seniors. A lot has to do with getting the community involved."Because the majority of the eight rape cases in 2004 were perpetrated by people known to the victims, Pilkington vowed to increase awareness of acquaintance rape."We're just going to have to improve our crime prevention," he said. "We're definitely going to have to do a better job with prevention and education, on a citywide level. That's going to be the big push, through education and prevention." In addition, he said local high schools Cardozo and Bayside have been the targets of recent robberies, with thefts of cell phones and handbags reported. Pilkington also noted there has been an uptick in the theft of certain types of cars."We've seen a small spike in stolen autos, specifically Honda Civics of different years and in different locations," he said. "Drivers should make every attempt to garage them, park them under lighted street lamps, get them VIN etched. Put some sort of alarm in the car. Do anything and everything you can think of to deter these people from taking the car."And, Pilkington said, even though the 111th is the safest precinct, people still should take precautions. "Don't leave your keys in the car with the engine running," he said. "We've lost five (cars) in the last two weeks like that. Unfortunately it's because people are comfortable.""A large portion of crime could be prevented if people just used common sense," he added. "There is a lot that could be prevented."Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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