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Battling against break-ins

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Police from the 109th Precinct were planning to launch a leaflet campaign to battle something that can befall anyone and have dire consequences: carelessness.

On Saturday, officers and volunteers from the precinct plan to place leaflets on cars at most major parking lots in its coverage area reminding people not to leave valuables in their cars.

“It’s always been a problem, but it’s been an issue that people can address,” Officer Anthony Loverme said. “We just like to let everyone know that they can help us combat it.”

Police said thieves breaking into cars to steal things like cell phones, GPS systems or shopping bags is one of the most common occurrences of theft in the city.

“I think we’re all guilty of it,” said 109th Precinct Community Council President Chrissy Voskerichian. “A lot of times I just run in a store and leave my cell phone on the dashboard. We all get very lax about it. By just not being diligent and taking it seriously we’re making it very easy for thieves.”

She added, “It’s never happened to me, but I imagine it’s a nightmare. And if people take two or three minutes to think about this, it’s something that’s really easy to prevent.”

Matthew Whelan, the 109th Precinct deputy inspector, told TimesLedger Newspapers in a previous interview that by engaging the public and tackling problems, the department has been able to keep a lid on major crime during the last few years.

According to criminal statistics compiled by the NYPD, reports of major crimes in the precinct — murder, rape, robbery, assault, grand larceny and auto theft — are down nearly 7 percent since last year and are down more than 78 percent since 1993.

Auto theft is down more than 25 percent from this time last year, while burglary rates are down 12 percent and robbery rates are down 3.5 percent, statistics show. Grand larceny rates, however, are up from this time last year by 1.1 percent.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:29 pm, October 10, 2011
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