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'Dramatic' Drop in Phone Thefts After Cops Step Up Bus Patrols

 Capt. James Fey at a recent community council meeting in Jamaica.
Capt. James Fey at a recent community council meeting in Jamaica.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — There has been a significant drop in phone thefts in Jamaica after extra cops were deployed to local buses where many such incidents have taken place, the authorities said.

The exact decrease in the number of thefts since last year was not immediately available, but grand larcenies in the 103rd Precinct, which covers the neighborhood, have dropped 32 percent.

“We get on the bus, we ride the bus, we get off the bus, we talk to people at the bus stops, we stick our head in the buses…,” said Capt. James Fey, Executive Officer at the 103rd Precinct, during a community council meeting Tuesday night.

Fey said the strategy has been in place for the last couple of years but the precinct stepped it up last summer, when new Apple products became hot items for thieves.

The strategy worked, Fey said, and “there has been a dramatic decrease (in the number of phone-snatching incidents)."

“We are doing remarkably better this year,” he added.

According to NYPD statistics for the period ending May 5, grand larcenies, in which most phone-snatching cases are categorized, are down from 178 last year to 120 this year, a decrease of 32 percent.

Grand larcenies are up 5 percent citywide so far this year, one of the few categories of major crimes that are up citywide. 

Fey also said that overall crime in the precinct decreased by five percent, including the number of shootings, which fell by 66 percent.

“This year we’ve had 5 shootings versus 16 last year,” he said. “Over the past 17 weeks we’ve only had 2 shootings.”