The 111th Precinct Community Council is seeking northeast Queens residents to take part in a civilian patrol following a recent spike of burglaries in Bayside.
At Community Board 11’s Dec. 3 meeting, 111th Precinct spokesman Bill Conway said that a whopping 20 burglaries had taken place within a week’s time. Most of the incidents took place between Northern Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway.
The precinct was also up from 149 burglaries in 2011 to 197 this year so far. Conway said the burglars were getting in and out of homes within minutes, searching through mattresses, dresser drawers and closets.
Jack Fried, president of the 111th Precinct’s community council, said his group was now attempting to convince local civic groups and northeast Queens residents to take part in a civilian watch group for Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck.
“They are not vigilantes, but just local residents driving down the street looking for things that appear to be problems,” Fried said.
Members of the patrol would use their own cars and cell phones and would report anything suspicious to the precinct.
Police would notify patrol members of things to look for, such as a particular license plate number or a vehicle idling with the lights off.
“It’s a secondary pair of eyes and ears for the police department,” Fried said. “We’re trying to stimulate the community to start something like this. We’ve had a tremendous spike in burglaries and the police have made arrests. But this would give police a helping hand in capturing these criminals.”
The NYPD would train members on what they would be allowed to do and what not to do while patrolling.
Fried said the precinct has been receiving calls from residents about the patrol, but nothing has been officially set up yet.
“It’s created a little excitement within the community and people are becoming interested,” he said. “If one or two civics get involved, maybe others will follow suit.”
He said the patrol would be the most cost effective method of handling the recent burglary spike.
“It will hopefully keep our community safer,” he said. “To go out and hire professional security is very expensive. A patrol has minimal costs because it is run by volunteers.”
Those interested in taking part in the civilian patrol should call the 111th Precinct’s community affairs office at 718-229-5295.
Fried said he hoped the civilian patrol would remain active all year-round.
“The burglaries are what stimulated us to move forward,” he said. “But we’re not going to stop it once the burglaries are under control. We want to run this 365 days a year.”