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South Queens Speaks: 106th officers capture Cop of Month kudos

On Dec. 18, at 10:30 a.m. the officers observed a suspicious vehicle on 108th Street near 109th Avenue in Ozone Park, according to Precinct Capt. Joseph Courtesis. He said the officers watched a man strip out the contents of a cigar, which usually means that this is a preparation for a marijuana blunt (cigarette) to be formed. The officers then decided to approach the vehicle. The officers then asked the man to step out of his car and the man was fidgeting and touching his pocket. The police then proceeded to frisk him and discovered a fully loaded 25 caliber gun, Courtesis said. The perpetrator was arrested and he had a prior record involving a weapons charge. "These officers did a wonderful job and in addition, this year has also been good due to a 7 percent reduction in crime within the 106th Precinct vicinity," Courtesis said. "We are down by over 100 crimes this year." He said fraud, involving identity theft and home invasions, has increased. There has been a pattern of burglaries in the Howard Beach area between 157 and 160th avenues near 82nd Street, according to Courtesis. According to neighborhood witnesses, two males have been burglarizing homes between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.Criminals are also opening up fraudulent accounts and stealing identities, he said. "It is good to be vigilant when it comes to your credit report," Courtesis said. "Always check your credit with the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The bureaus offer different programs to alert you of any activity occurring on your reports. Some programs start at $5-$150 monthly to protect your credit, depending on what you want." Another temptation for a burglar is the GPS equipment that is left in cars, Lieutenant Mike Coyle said. He recommended that it is best to remove this system when leaving your car. "Lots of cars are being broken into because of this," he said. "It is becoming an epidemic. Hopefully, in the future smaller, more compact GPS systems will exist, such as cell phones." Coyle also warned against leaving pocketbooks and valuables in a car where a thief can see them because this gives an open invitation to trouble. Council President Frank Dardani said having 14 cameras along Liberty Avenue, especially near Lefferts Boulevard, is a good crime deterrent. Courtesis said crime has been down due to these cameras. From Lefferts Boulevard to the Van Wyck on Liberty Avenue there is a bunch of clubs where there was a lot of crime, but crime has been lower since the installation of these cameras, he said. Some other complaints discussed were about a homeless woman who walks along Crossbay Boulevard in Howard Beach with several bags and does not want any help or homeless services, when offered. A resident at the meeting said that she offered to help the woman, but she said she did not want any help. Sgt. Donna Nugent from the 106th Precinct said the woman is not breaking any laws and if she refuses help, then nothing can be done. On a final note, there were several complaints about the overcrowding and filthiness on the A subway train."It's disgraceful and it should be cleaned up," Doris Peterson, board member of Locust Grove Civic said. But it was noted that crime was down this year on the trains, but summonses went up. The 106th Precinct Community Council will not meet in February. The next meeting will be March 12.

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