112th Precinct sees large crime decrease

Capt. Cermeli says to keep vigilant, even with the positive numbers

The 112th Precinct is No. 4 in the city in crime reduction of the 77 precincts.

“I can’t take credit for that,” Capt. Jonathan Cermeli, commanding officer of the precinct, said at last Wednesday’s community council meeting. “That’s the men and women who are out there every day in all crazy types of weather.”

The numbers are impressive, showing a drop of more than 15 percent this year to date from the same time in 2018. Statistics through Nov. 17 show rapes decreasing from 14 to 12, robberies falling from 39 to 30 and burglaries down more than 30 percent, from 61 to 42. Grand larcenies fell slightly.

Cermeli recommends that residents remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings, even with the major decreases in crime.

“What do statistics mean if you were the one person that got robbed or you’re the one person that got your car stolen — do you really care that 50 other people didn’t?” he said.

Cermeli noted that six people were arrested for robbing Sephora on Austin Street in Forest Hills in October. The group had been hitting the chain citywide, taking thousands of dollars worth of merchandise right off the shelves.

“When they would get confronted by a security guard, they punch him, kick him, they would assault him,” Cermeli said.

The officers tracked down the individuals, who had gone in different directions.

“Now I’m actually watching this in real time, watching body camera footage of the dangerous but yet amazing work that was done,” Cermeli said.

He also spoke of the cyclists who have been killed in the city at an “alarming rate.”

“Whether you like it or not, [the bike lanes are] part of society now,” Cermeli said. “There are more and more bicyclists that are out there ... [W]e have to be more vigilant as drivers and realize there are bike lanes and respect what’s going on.”

The commanding officer said keeping safe is a shared responsibility among cyclists, drivers and pedestrians and that summons enforcement is done on cyclists as well as motor vehicles. He also said pedestrians need to be careful as people are “inundated” with phones and headphones as “we’re becoming a society that’s looking down all the time.”

And, Cermeli explained, going against a car is a losing battle.

“You’re not going to look at the car and the car’s going to get hurt,” he said. “You’re going to get hurt.”

Cermeli also spoke about the perception of police, saying, “People think of us as ‘Uh-oh.’ We’re the blue and red lights in the back when you’re getting a speeding ticket. We’re there to lock up your family member. And we’re law enforcement. So people have a tendency to pretty much equate us with the negative effects and the dark part of society.”

But it’s not all negative.

He said an 8-year-old recently was separated from her mother and made it across Queens Boulevard but was found after a “massive search effort.”

“It’s things like this that don’t get exposed,” Cermeli said.

Michael Dunne, of the Forest Hills/Rego Park Community Emergency Response Team, was honored by the council with a certificate of appreciation. He recently participated in the New York City Marathon, with the name of late NYPD Deputy Chief Steven Silks on the back of his shirt.

“He was a great guy,” Dunne said.