No Shabbat for thieves

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Shabbat is a time for reflection, a time for prayer — and apparently, a time for crime.

Criminals “know there’s a lot of people who are Jewish and can’t call 911,” Deputy Inspector Ralph Monteforte, the 70th Precinct’s new commanding officer, explained at last week’s meeting of the Nottingham Association.

In particular, criminals have targeted parked cars.

“They break the windows to steal the cars,” Monteforte said.

“We’re seeing a couple of more broken windows on Friday nights,” he continued. “On Friday, they’re a little more daring.”

The 70th Precinct now has an “increased patrol presence and increased police presence” to prevent crimes during Shabbat.

Monteforte noted that Nottingham is “probably the safest part” of the 70th Precinct, which includes Flatbush, Midwood and parts of Kensington.

In recent weeks, there were only four crimes in Nottingham.

“We don’t want there to be any crime but four crimes is low compared to the rest of the precinct,” Monteforte said.

That includes a burglary of a home on Bedford Avenue. One arrest was made, Monteforte said.

Also, one car was stolen and the navigation systems were stolen from two cars.

Built-in navigation systems and expensive rims are the most stolen items from automobiles, Monteforte explained.

The precinct has caught several individuals suspected of the crimes.

“We have identified a lot of people,” Monteforte said.

The precinct offers several free programs to prevent car theft.

Officers can chisel a vehicle identification number (VIN) into the glass of automobiles. To complete the process, which takes just five to ten minutes, cops type a VIN onto a stencil then attach it to the glass. A mild acid is applied to the stencil to make the number unnoticeable to the naked eye.

If a car is stolen but ultimately recovered by cops, the VIN would allow the automobile to be traced back to its rightful owner.

VIN numbers can also be etched into a car’s airbags. The goal of this practice is to decrease their value, in turn, preventing theft.

The precinct also offers a Combat Auto Theft (CAT) program, in which a colored decal is attached to the window of a car. The decal indicates that the car is not normally operated between 1-5 a.m. and gives cops the authority to investigate if it is driven during those hours.

As part of the Help End Auto Theft (HEAT) program, cops affix a red decal to the window of a car indicating that no one under 25 years of age should be driving the automobile. The police can pull over the driver if he appears under 25.

To register for any of these programs, contact the 70th Precinct’s crime prevention officer at 718-851-5504.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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