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104th Precinct captain gives holiday safety tips

Capt. Christopher Manson of the 104th Precinct warns shoppers to be aware of their surroundings.
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Shoppers should be especially cautious during the next few months because robberies tend to go up during the holiday season, according to Christopher Manson, captain of the 104th Precinct.

During a media briefing last week, Manson said thieves know drivers keep presents in their cars and extra cash in their pockets.

“Know your surroundin­gs,” he said. “Make sure your pocketbook and wallet are secure. Do not walk out to your car with $1,000 worth of electronics, or whatever you bought, throw it into your trunk and walk away. Perps watch that, they see that.”

Another cold weather tip is to never leave cars running unattended.

“People go inside while the car is warming up,” Detective Thomas Bell said. “They come back and the car is gone.”

Manson said during the holidays the precinct will have additional auxiliary officers who will distribute informational fliers to shoppers with safety tips for the holiday season.

“It’s all about people being complacent and enjoying their holidays,” he said.

The auxiliary officers will be stationed primarily around the major business districts. They will work during the week from about 4 p.m. to midnight and weekends from noon to midnight.

Manson said the auxiliary officers will be assigned in addition to regular patrol officers.

He said the precinct, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth, recently got nine new officers as well as one new sargeant.

Manson said the mobile unit will be assigned to areas of the precinct that are being hit with the most robberies or violent crimes.

“I can move them on a day-to-day basis to wherever there is an uptick in crime,” he said.

The officers will work from 7:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., Manson said, and will work over the weekends.

Most will travel in vans and cars and some will have scooters.

“They are an additional supplement to manpower out on the street every night,” Manson said.

Manson, who is always cautioning community members about popular scams, issued a warning about a new hoax involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards. The cards are pre-paid Visa cards and MasterCards that can be used to transfer money.

Scammers call up potential victims, tell them their utilities are about to be shut off for lack of payment and direct them to purchase a Green Dot card. After the card has been loaded with money, the caller is directed to give the scammer the card information so the thief can steal the victim’s money.

Manson and Bell advise doing research or calling 911 before handing over money because of a potential scam.

“You don’t need to have a master’s degree to look into these things,” Bell said. “Just call whatever organization they claim to be from.”

“We want everybody to know don’t give anybody a dime,” Manson said. “Be a grinch.”

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Posted 12:00 am, November 25, 2013
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