March 2, 2015 By Michael Florio
The crime rate has taken a nosedive this year throughout the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.
Captain John Travaglia, the commanding officer of the 108 Precinct, said that the number of reported crimes for the year through Feb. 22 has dropped 25 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
The decline has been driven by the fall in property-related crimes, with there being 22 reported burglaries so far this year compared to 37 for the same time period a year ago. Furthermore, there have been 60 grand larcenies reported this year, compared to 87 a year ago.
“Burglaries have historically been a problem in this precinct and we are down 40 percent on the year,” Travaglia said. “We are very happy to report those numbers.”
The number of robberies reported so far this year is down–from 22 to nine.
Travaglia, who was spoke at the Community Board Council meeting in Sunnyside last Tuesday, spent a significant portion of the hour-long meeting paying tribute to his officers—particular William Caldarera and Corey Sarro.
The two officers received an award for saving the life of Bruce Brooks, a 66-year-old LaGuardia College professor.
Brooks suffered a heart attack and collapsed outside the college at 29-10 Thomson Avenue. The officers, who were on routine patrol, saw the professor lying motionless on the sidewalk, without a pulse.
Sarro began performing chest compressions, while Caldarera retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts, the pair revived him and then EMS transported him to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.
Brooks, who was in attendance at the precinct meeting, presented the officers with a plaque that he had specially made.
“How can you thank someone for saving your life,” Brooks said.
“A doctor told me afterwards that less than two percent of people who collapse on the street actually survive without brain damage,” Brooks said. “I didn’t dodge a bullet, I dodged a bomb and it is all thanks to these guys.”
Brooks’ wife, Susan Gardner, was also in attendance to thank the officers.
“I can’t tell you how wonderful these officers were to me at a time when I was truly hysterical,” she said.
Gardner wanted to get the officers a gift, she said, until she was told it was against policy.
“But I realized there is no gift I could give them as great as the one that they gave me,” she said. “They have given me a chance to grow old with my husband. So, I thank them forever.”
The day of Brooks’ heart attack was the day he was retiring, according to Gardner.
Brooks spent 10 days at Elmhurst Hospital, before being transferred to NYU Hospital to undergo a triple bypass.
Now the doctors say Brooks, who is a lifelong handball player, will be playing again this summer, Gardner said.
Despite the decrease in crime, there was a murder reported on Vernon Blvd and 50th Street last month, the first murder reported this year. A man was struck and died when his head hit the ground.
The police arrested Kaheem Addison who now faces manslaughter charges.
“The [murder] investigation was spectacular and I couldn’t be happier with the detective squad,” he said. “I am very proud of them and the work they did in solving this homicide very quickly.”
For crime statistics, click here