An uptick in burglaries in northeast Queens and the continued cleanup efforts for Hurricane Sandy dominated Community Board 11’s final meeting of 2012.
Bill Conway, spokesman for the 111th Precinct, told the board during its meeting on Monday that burglaries in the district had been especially high in recent weeks.
A total 20 burglaries have taken place within the past week, whereas there were only two during the same period of time last year.
The total number of burglaries for 2011 was 149, but the precinct has reported 197 so far this year.
“A vast majority are taking place between Northern Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway,” he said. “That area has been chosen because it has access to a number of highways. These guys can get in, do their thing and get out.”
He said the precinct was attempting to locate a gold SUV minivan that police believe may have been involved in the burglaries.
“We think this is a professional crew that is also hitting the 107th and 109th precincts,” he said. “Most of the entries are through the rear or side windows or doors.”
Conway said residents should keep their windows locked and hide their jewelry in unlikely places, such as the bathroom or kitchen.
“They usually go straight for the bedroom and turn every drawer upside down,” he said. “They’ll flip the mattress and box spring and go through the dresser drawers and bedroom closet.”
Those interested in starting up a neighborhood watch group should contact the precinct at 718-279-5295.
CB 11 members also discussed the ongoing process of cleaning up the borough following Hurricane Sandy’s visit in late October.
“We lost lots of trees,” CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said. “But we were spared the brunt of what they went through down in Howard Beach and the Rockaways.”
Both Iannece and Councilman Mark Weprin, D-Oakland Gardens, said they believed Con Edison could have done a better job of responding to the storm.
“I was very frustrated with some of the response and I felt Con Ed’s communication with us was very poor,” Weprin said. “There’s no reason why Con Ed can’t update communities on when they will get their power back. Most people understood that it was a bad storm with a lot of outages, but people should have been told when could go home.”
Weprin said the City Council planned to hold hearings on the response to Hurricane Sandy.
Nicholas Hynes, the public information officer for the U.S. Small Business Administration, dropped by the meeting to tell residents how to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for grant assistance or loans.
“If you’ve been affected by this disaster, you need to apply to FEMA,” he said. “Homeowners can borrow up to $200,00 and renters can borrow up to $40,000. For businesses, it’s up to $2 million with a rate of four percent.”