It might seem obvious, but the 109th Precinct is again urging residents to avoid leaving valuables inside their cars no matter how safe the neighborhood might seem and provided numerous recent examples of what can happen when wallets, pocketbooks and thousands of dollars in cash are left unattended even for a few minutes.
“You are inviting a criminal to break into your car,” said Capt. Christopher Manson, executive officer at the precinct. “It’s common sense.”
The 109th covers the neighborhoods of Downtown Flushing, East Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace, but thieves tend to migrate to wherever drivers and residents make it easy for them and will look into car windows until they see something valuable, according to Manson.
They do not waste time breaking into cars either, according to the precinct, and police gave several examples of drivers who left their belongings unattended for less than an hour, only to later find them stolen.
A 30-year-old woman recently parked her car near 46th Avenue and Smart Street at about 1:30 p.m., leaving her GPS device, cellphone and purse containing $200 inside. When she returned just 10 minutes later, the driver’s side window was broken and her belongings removed, police said.
At about 4:40 p.m. July 30, another 30-year-old woman was walking back to her car, parked at 25th Avenue and Ulmer Street. As she approached she witnessed someone punch out her passenger side window, snatch her purse and flee, police said.
Recently, a 37-year-old woman popped into some stores at the College Point shopping center at around 4:30 p.m., leaving her pocketbook and credit cards in her car. Just 30 minutes later, she returned to find everything stolen, police said.
Officers are also urging residents to leave valuables at home if they are not going to carry them while shopping. Leaving purses, pocketbooks or even abnormally large amounts of change inside of a car is simply inviting crime, police said.
At about 8 p.m. Aug. 8, a 63-year-old woman left her car parked for less than two hours near Fowler Avenue and College Point Boulevard. She left her purse containing $5,000 and credit cards inside the car, but upon her return discovered a window smashed and her pocketbook taken.
On Aug. 13, a 20-year-old woman went shopping at 2 p.m. and parked her car at Municipal Lot 1 on Union Street near 37th Avenue. When she returned 45 minutes later, she discovered her Apple laptop stolen, along with a Chanel handbag worth $3,000, police said.
Criminals want to go where it is easy to commit crimes, police said. Thieves will travel into neighborhoods like Whitestone to take advantage of residents’ sense of security.
On 20th Avenue near 154th Street, a 31-year-old man left an $829 iPad and $400 iPhone Touch in his car overnight. In the morning, both were gone and his back rear door was open, according to police.
The precinct also urged neighbors to be vigilant and report suspicious behavior. Normal people do not change their tires at 3 a.m., nor do they walk down the street looking into car windows, police said.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community News Group
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