The precinct's car thefts have fallen 85 percent since 11 years ago, when it was known for having the most car thefts of any precinct in the city.The 109th has been trying to shake off its image of being the auto theft capital of the city in a number of ways through programs that etch VINs into car windows and allow certain cars to be pulled over late at night. But nothing has yielded the same results as tracking EZ-Passes on stolen cars and the city's crackdown on organized crime."The reason we have so many GLAs (grand larceny auto thefts) is it's so accessible to the bridges," Executive Officer James Donnelly said.The 109th Precinct is laced with highways such as the Whitestone Expressway, Cross Island Parkway and Long Island Expressway. Also running through the precinct are the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges, both quick escape routes out of the borough. The precinct covers downtown Flushing, East Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace - an area with a population of nearly 250,000.In order to curb the crime, the 109th established a GLA team, comprising three officers and a sergeant, which investigates all auto thefts within the precinct. One of the anti-theft programs run by the precinct is the CAT program in which drivers put stickers on their cars allowing cops to stop their vehicle if it is on the roads late at night. Of the 625 cars stolen in the 109th in 2004, only six had CAT stickers , 109th Community Affairs Officer Joseph Conelli said.He also reminded drivers not to leave their cars running unattended in the morning since that has already been the cause of a few auto thefts this winter.After cars are stolen, the GLA team tracks the EZ-Pass information and then follows the cars to their destinations after they leave the borough. Donnelly said almost all stolen cars travel over a bridge immediately after being reported missing.Do
©2005 Community News Group
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