Aug. 28, 2014 By Christian Murray
While the crime rate has plummeted this summer across the 108 police precinct, there still remains many unsolved local cases.
The number of reported crimes for the 28 day period ending Sunday, August 24, dropped 28% — from 118 reported incidents to 85 – compared to the same period a year ago, according to Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.
With the quiet summer, crime in the precinct is down 2.4% year-to-date.
However, a number of local crimes have yet to be solved. The perpetrator who took $2,000 at gunpoint from Sunnyside Gardens Market (46-01 Skillman Avenue) on August 1 has yet to be apprehended and there are a number of old murder cases that have yet to be closed.
The Lou Rispoli murder, which took place outside 41-00 43rd Avenue on Oct. 12, 2012, remains unsolved and the internal investigation dealing with the police’s response has yet to be made public.
Meanwhile cases such as the homeless man beaten to death in Sabba Park on Sept 7, 2013, has yet to be closed—and no one has been arrested for the murder of Young Joo Byun, who was found in a garbage back in the trunk of her car that was parked near 61st Street and Queens Blvd on May 23, 2013.
However, crime is down significantly across most of the major crime categories in the past 28 days—from felony assaults, grand larcenies, burglaries, robberies and stolen vehicles.
There were seven felony assaults in the precinct for the 28-day period ended August 24, compared to 18 for the same period last year.
“Last year we had a number of assaults near bars and clubs,” Hennessy said. This summer, a greater number of officers focused on bars on the late-night tours, he added.
There were 32 grand larcenies in the 28-day period—many from auto break-ins—down from 49 for the same period last year.
Last summer there were several incidents where criminals broke into cars and stole handbags and laptops—particularly in certain sections of Long Island City and Woodside.
“We have locked up quite a few individuals [for these crimes],” Hennessy said, many of whom have been incarcerated since. He said the precinct has made 30 arrests so far this year for people breaking into cars—double the number from last year.
The number of burglaries dropped in the past 28 days. The precinct reported 18 residential burglaries for the 28-day period, down from 20 for the same period a year ago.
There were five burglaries in the greater Sunnyside area—from 39th Street to 50th Street (Barnett Ave. to 48th Avenue)—during the period. There were four in a small section of Woodside—between 69th and 71st Streets (Roosevelt and 41st Ave). Most were scattered throughout the precinct.
There were 13 stolen vehicles—down from 15– during the 28-day-period.
Thieves continue to target motorcycles. There have been 25 motorbikes stolen in the precinct this year, representing well over a quarter of the 92 vehicles taken this year. Furthermore, many of the cars stolen have been Ford Econoline vans—which the thieves use to cart away the motorbikes.
There were no murders in the 28 day period. Through August 24, there have been 2 murders so far this year—compared to 3 for same period a year ago.
There were 2 rapes reported during the 28-day period, up from one a year ago. In both incidents, the victim knew the alleged perpetrator prior to the incident.
The police have targeted bicyclists this summer. In the past 28 days, 105 tickets were issued—representing more tickets than for the entire 2013 year.
“The majority of the tickets were for disobeying stop signs and going through red lights,” Hennessy said.
The clamp down is part of the city’s focus on Vision Zero, which aims to reduce the number of traffic fatalities to zero.
“This time last year there were 12 fatals in car accidents,” Hennessy said, referring to the 108 precinct. “We have had zero so far this year.”