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107th Pct’s top cop wants more community involvement

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Capt. Michael Coyle has had a whirlwind of a month since taking charge of the 107th Precinct.

A 21-year veteran of the NYPD, Coyle, who grew up in Astoria, has been meeting with community residents, religious leaders, civic activists and, of course, police officers since he replaced Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi as the 107th Precinct’s leader at the beginning of August. Cirabisi transferred to the 114th Precinct in Astoria after heading up the 107th for about four years.

“I’m very big on community-police interaction,” Coyle said. “They’re the eyes and the ears of the community. I intend to bring a lot of energy and interaction to the community.”

The 107th Precinct, which serves areas in Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Hillside, Jamaica Estates and Pomonok, has experienced a slight uptick in crime since last year, particularly grand larceny auto and burglaries, which Coyle said he immediately began to address.

“Lock your cars up and keep valuables out of sight,” Coyle said. “An alarm’s always a good thing. Secure your home when you leave it.”

He noted that Cunningham Park was a hot spot for theft and said residents should leave their vehicles locked and with all valuables hidden — or not in the car at all. A wide variety of property has been swiped from cars throughout the precinct, including laptops, credit cards, wallets, iPods and iPhones, he said.

“You’ll see a lot more auxiliary cops in Cunningham Park,” Coyle said. “I’m hoping that will slow down the car break-ins.”

Coyle also plans on combatting robbers targeting students as they leave school.

“I’m focusing very heavily on my schools,” Coyle said. “I’m having meetings with the principals.”

Growing up in Astoria, Coyle spent much of his childhood surrounded by police and regaled by law force stories, since his great-grandfather and father were both cops.

“It was always a dream of mine” to be a policeman, said Coyle, who now lives on Long Island. “And 21 years later, I still love my job.”

He began his career in the 75th Precinct in eastern Brooklyn in the early 1990s and has since worked in every borough except Staten Island. He most recently was an executive officer´╗┐ in the 103rd Precinct in South Jamaica.

“When I first came on the job, the city was very high in crime and violence,” Coyle said. “The [city Police] Department has come a long way technology-wise. The city’s in the best shape it’s ever been now.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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