111th Police Captain Julio Ordonez acknowledged this week there had been a sharp increase in burglaries in the normally quiet northeast Queens precinct but said police were doing all they could to stop the crime spike.
There were 41 burglaries in the precinct in February, Ordonez said, compared to 20 in February 2001. The captain said the precinct is on top of the problem, with 111th officers having made four arrests for burglaries last month, including a pair suspected in 16 burglaries.
Theres nothing to hide, Ordonez said Tuesday night.
The captain, who took command of the Bayside-based 111th Precinct in September, said his officers have also been working in conjunction with neighboring precincts and Nassau County police as they tackle the burglary problem.
Burglaries seem highest in central and eastern sections of the precinct, which includes the communities of Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills and parts of Fresh Meadows and Auburndale, Ordonez said.
Community Affairs Officer Anthony Lombardi said this week that he has received calls from residents worried about the burglaries, but he warned people not to believe exaggerated rumors.
Its not as many as people think, he said.
111th Lt. Dan Heffernan said it is too soon to tell if the four February burglary arrests may help lower the recent rise in the crime rate.
Like the captain said, no one arrest is a panacea, said Heffernan, who said a concentration of burglaries in Little Neck seemed to lessen after the arrests were made.
On Feb. 5, a pair of men were arrested in connection with commercial burglaries in the precinct, Heffernan and Lombardi said.
Officer Edward Fernandez arrested Lawrence Macari, 47, of Staten Island, and John Timpa, 34, of the Bronx, in connection with two burglaries which had been reported earlier that evening. As a direct result of that arrest, Fernandez was named Officer of the Month at Tuesday nights Precinct Community Council meeting.
Macari and Timpa were charged with burglary, and 111th officers said so far the pair had allegedly been linked to 16 burglaries in the precinct.
Just two days after the Feb. 5 arrest, another pair of men were arrested for burglary in Oakland Gardens.
Heffernan said officers were on patrol in the area when they saw Joseph Occhion, 38, and Eric Fuentes, 20, loading packages into a car near 53rd Avenue and 210th Street.
While the officers followed the pair in an unmarked car, they were alerted to a report of a burglary from the same area. The officers stopped the pair and allegedly discovered stolen property from the same reported burglary, Heffernan said. The two were charged with burglary.
On Tuesday, Lombardi said the 111th made an arrest of someone who was trespassing in a backyard in a burglary-prone section of Little Neck.
Lombardi said Officers Brian Hennessy and Kevin Shanahan saw Samuel Williams, 34, of Long Island dressed in black and leaving a backyard on Cornell Lane. When the officers questioned him, they discovered Williams was there without the property owners knowledge or permission, he said.
Williams was charged with criminal trespassing, Lombardi said.
111th Crime Prevention Officer Eddie Devine said residents who would like security surveys done for their homes to assess what they could do to prevent burglaries can call the precinct at 279-5215.
Officer Frank Vasquez told the Precinct Community Council there are several things residents can do to increase their homes security, including:
Making sure doors and door frames are in good shape and not easily broken.
Having deadbolt or pick-resistant door locks.
Installing a home alarm.
Having lighting that illuminates the perimeter of a house, especially door areas.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2002 Community News Group
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