A new police initiative has hit the streets to combat car break-ins, and cops want residents to know if they can spot a loose item in your car, a criminal can as well.
Spot it to Secure it, a program launched last week by the 106th Precinct’s Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, targets areas in which car break-ins were heavily reported.
“It’s a crime opportunity,” said Officer Gary Maher, the program’s coordinator and crime prevention officer. “It’s not like [thieves] went out to rob a specific car, but then they see something valuable.”
Through the initiative, if cops see loose items in parked cars, they track the vehicle’s owner and either visit the person’s home or send them a letter detailing the issue—if they can spot it, you need to secure it.
The program’s team is first combing through Ozone Park, west of 100th Street. Since starting patrols on Jan. 29, cops have discovered about 25 cars with valuables loose, according to Detective Kenny Zorn.
“It’s amazing what people leave in their cars,” Zorn said. “Open purses, credit cards, wallets, GPS, change. No matter where you live, crime is going to happen, and you need to keep your stuff secure.”
Area residents frequently come to the precinct with complaints of car break-ins; some crimes are reported and others are not. Police continue to urge drivers to report all incidents to give them an accurate depiction of where break-ins happen.
Cops additionally see the program as a way to enhance community policing.
“Unfortunately, sometimes we show up for something negative,” Zorn said. “With this we’re getting positive feedback. It’s thinking outside of the box. Simple things can go a long way.”