Thursday, February 16, 2012


Inspector John Sprague, Commanding Officer of the 66th Precinct, reported to the community at the January 19, 2012, meeting of the 66th Precinct Community Council.

Cop of the Month Mariana Zakhary broke a credit card skimming case in November after a year-long investigation.

The number of burglaries within the precinct's boundaries has increased since late December 2011. Two common ways to gain access to a house or apartment are
  1. Deception burglaries. On three occasions, a burglar gained entry to a home by falsely stating "I'm from Con Ed. I need to come into your house/apartment to make a repair" or claiming to be from Verizon or National Grid or Time Warner Cable.
  2. Entry through rear window or door. A flurry of home break-ins through a back window or door took place on E. 3rd, E. 4th, and E. 5th streets between Church Avenue and Albemarle Road. Three youths who were working as a team were arrested on the other side of Coney Island Avenue at the end of last week (the week of January 9th). It was the first arrest for all three. After the arrest, they started telling the police where they had sold some of the items they stole (pawn shops, for instance) but then suddenly stopped talking. 
As of the night of the meeting, the police didn't know if the three burglars were responsible for the break-ins on E. 3rd through E. 5th streets. They weren't accompanied by the black BMW that was seen being used as a getaway car after an E. 3rd Street break-in. Detective Vitelli is investigating those burglaries.
    Detective Vitelli will schedule an etching event at Astoria Federal Savings. Residents can bring their iPods, iPads, phones, cameras, laptops, and other electronics and valuables to the bank to get serial numbers etched on them.

    Smart phones are being grabbed out of people's hands at transit hubs and as subway doors are closing. Install a tracking app on your phone. The Find My Phone feature can't be disabled. Keep a record of the phone's serial number.

    When you report a crime, make sure you're given a case number before the end of your phone call to 911 or the precinct or your visit to the precinct or when the police arrive at the scene of the crime. If the person you're speaking to doesn't give you a case number, it means that person has decided not to report your crime. Insist that a written report be made about the crime.

    Outdoor Safety Tips

    • Before going out, tell someone where you're going and approximately when you'll arrive there or when you'll return home.
    • Look through your wide-angle peephole (190-degree) before opening your door.
    • Hold your phone to your ear and converse or pretend to be conversing with someone. If a criminal is targeting you, he or she may assume that approaching you will cause you to tell the person you're speaking to to call 911. The criminal doesn't want a confrontation and may drop you as a target.
    • Don't let phone conversations distract you from looking around and being alert and aware of your surroundings.
    • Texting while walking shifts your focus away from your surroundings.
    • If you're wearing headphones in spite of all the warnings not to, keep the volume low.
    • You'll lose less if you're robbed if you don't carry much cash, many credit or debit cards, or much identification.
    • Make your wallet more difficult to steal by keeping it in a front pocket.
    • Carry your purse under your arm. Don't wrap it around your body; if someone pulls the strap, you might end up lying in the street.
    • Use indoor ATMs. Look around for suspicious-looking people before entering and exiting.
    • If you're touched in the subway, make a fuss: "Get your hands off of me, you creep!!"
    • If you're being robbed, give the thief what he or she wants. Don't risk your life or well-being for material possessions.