2002-04-25 / Other News

Police Working On Area Car Theft, Crime Increase Problems

By Charles Rogers
Police Working On Area Car Theft, Crime Increase Problems By Charles Rogers

By Charles Rogers

Police officers from the Brooklyn South Task Force, wearing combat regalia, engaged in a training exercise on Seaview Avenue near East 108th  Street this week. They are here temporarily as a "bolstering presence," according to the officer in charge, Lieutenant Pat Wiater. 	          Charles RogersPolice officers from the Brooklyn South Task Force, wearing combat regalia, engaged in a training exercise on Seaview Avenue near East 108th Street this week. They are here temporarily as a "bolstering presence," according to the officer in charge, Lieutenant Pat Wiater. Charles Rogers

The number of auto thefts recorded in the 69th Precinct within the past month climbed steadily from the last week of March to the first three weeks of April, according to statistics. However, with the assignment of new recruits here this month and the presence of an additional force of about 20 officers from the Brooklyn South Task Force, Commanding Officer Captain Robert Johnsen, says a "slow decrease" began this week.

Known in police jargon as Grand Larceny Auto, the wave of thefts seems to have no discrimination when it comes to location within the precinct.

"There are recorded thefts from the East 70s to the East 100s," said Johnsen, "and they range all the way from south of Seaview Avenue to past Foster Avenue on the north." Although most are taken from the street, a few have been taken from driveways and two within the time frame were stolen from parking lots.

Precinct statistics show there were at least 43 during the period from March 25th through April 21st — with at least four reported on April 18th alone. One officer said that was unusual because that was a Thursday "and there was no particular reason for that date to be singled out."

The precinct commander said he wanted to get the word out that some car owners "make it easy" for the thieves to ply their trade. "If you own an older car, make sure you get an alarm," he said. "Contrary to what a lot of people say, the alarm does help." He also suggested car owners get an ignition switch that will disable the car when it’s turned off.

"Right now, it seems that the thieves are trying to take late-model cars, and we suggest owners use every precaution to safeguard their vehicles."

Referring to another set of statistics released in a Daily News poll last week that determined a 17 percent rise in crime here, from January 1st through April 14th, as opposed to last year during the same time period, Johnsen said, "Obviously, we’re putting more effort into every aspect of criminal activity. With the recruits and the extra temporary manpower from Brooklyn South, we’re already seeing a decrease in general crime here. We want the public to take comfort in knowing we are on top of the problem and, most of all, we’re doing something concrete about it."

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