Home » 'Barely holding on' Queens business owners plead for help with decades-high theft levels – New York Post

'Barely holding on' Queens business owners plead for help with decades-high theft levels – New York Post

by Arifa Rana



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Queens is being hit hard by a dramatic surge in thefts this year — almost topping levels not seen since the NYPD started compiling statistics decades ago — and business owners are calling on cops to step up.
As of last Sunday, the borough had recorded 1,236 grand larcenies in 2022, which is only a few dozen shy of the tally logged during the same period in 1993, the earliest for which records are available, when 1,326 major thefts occurred, a Post analysis of police data shows.
A store manager of JMart on Main Street in Flushing told The Post his store loses up to $2,000 on any given day.
“I’ve never seen it like this before,” the manager, Lee said. “Maybe it’s the pandemic. It’s bad. Before you’d have one or two [ shoplifters] per week but now it’s like almost every day.”
This year’s tally is more than double what it was in the same time period last year and more than 40 percent over what it was two years ago. It’s also 75 percent more than 12 years ago. 
While grand larcenies have been up citywide, with police data showing a more than 60 percent uptick from last year and a 6 percent increase from pre-pandemic times, businesses owners in just a few Queens neighborhoods have been disproportionately hit harder.
Nearly half of the major thefts in the borough have been recorded in only three of the county’s 16 patrol areas.
In the 109th Precinct, which covers Flushing and College Point, 180 grand larcenies have been reported this year, which is nearly triple the same time last year and more than double 2020. That’s also up 181 percent from 2010 and 36 percent from 1993.
The Corona and Elmhurst police precinct, the 110th, has seen a more than four-fold increase in grand larcenies from the same time in 2021. This year’s 197 major thefts are up 156 percent from two years ago, 223 percent from 2010 and 54 percent from the same time in the early 1990s.
The 115th Precinct, which patrols Jackson Heights, North Corona and East Elmhurst, logged 156 grand larcenies in 2022, which is almost 100 more crimes than last year. That is also a surge of 148 percent from two years ago, 206 percent from 2010 and 32 percent from 1993.
Only two other precincts citywide have recorded triple-digit tallies of grand larcenies this year, according to police data. In the Bronx and Brooklyn, which have also recorded seen spikes in thefts, the crimes are spread out across numerous precincts.
Grand larceny, which is one of the major seven crimes tracked by the NYPD as part of Compstat, is any theft of good with a value above $1,000 without force.
On top of the dramatic increase in grand larcenies, Queens has recorded 2,214 minor thefts, or larcenies under $1,000, this year, which business owners say affect them almost daily in some stores.
The more minor theft figures are up more than 20 percent from each of the last two years and nearly 50 percent from 2010, the earliest year available for that crime. 
More than three dozen business owners told The Post in interviews Wednesday they are struggling to stay afloat after their loss during the pandemic and need the city and its police force to do more.
“We are barely holding on,” said Jason Wu, a 40-year-old manager of C&A Supermarket, adding his Flushing store is losing up to $500 per week.
“They should be doing more,” he said of police. “They should come on time. I want the police to patrol more. Every day they should be walking around the business areas.”
Galo Avila, the manager of Downtown Natural Market, said when they call the cops, it takes them 30 to 40 minutes to respond.
“Do they think the thieves will hang around for 40 min?! The police don’t help,” Avila added.
Silvana Sislian, 57, the general manager of LA Gran Uruguaya Cafe Restaurant on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, said she hopes Eric Adams will reverse the trend “because he was a cop.”
Others have thrown up their hands.
“I don’t call the cops anymore,” said Jorge Porchetti, the 65-year-old owner of Colony Wine and Liquor in Jackson Heights. “The cops do nothing. Sometimes they don’t come and when they do come, they do nothing.”
Michael Cohen, who owns a jewelry stall selling and repairing watches in Flushing, recalled a recent incident where he saw a cop letting off a shoplifter — who ended up throwing punches — with a warning.
“The officers put him in the back of his car and lectured him and let him go,” he said. “They didn’t arrest him.”
The NYPD has charged 131 people with grand larceny in all of Queens this year as of Sunday, which accounts for just over 10 percent of major thefts over that time, according to police data.
The grand larceny busts in the borough are down compared to 2020 by roughly 30 percent and by about a quarter from 2010, police data shows.
The NYPD did not provide figures for petit larceny arrests in Queens.
Lee said the cops come when they call “but we need more.”
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