Officer Michael Berish of the 104th Precinct shared details of the incident at last week’s Community Board 5 meeting, as well as a meeting of 104COP/G-COP in Glendale.
He said two people met near the park on Lutheran Avenue with the agreement that the victim would test drive a vehicle he might buy from the suspect. Instead, the suspect pulled out a gun and demanded cash, stole it, and then drove off in the car.
“It is a robbery pattern that is taking place going around the city,” Berish said. “We’ve seen it throughout all of Queens North in all of the precincts, as well as some of Brooklyn North.”
At the CB5 meeting, Berish also shared crime statistics for the whole precinct. Over the last 28-day period, the 104th Precinct has seen a 3 percent decrease in overall crime, with a 30 percent downward trend for robberies specifically.
This did not add up for Patrick Trinchese, who has lived in the neighborhood for 43 years.
“Growing up in this neighborhood, to sit here and say crime is going down is absurd to me,” he said. “I want to know whether they’re going down in number and they're shifting in severity. This was always a good area for grand theft auto and grand larceny, but it seems that there’s more violent crimes.”
Berish said there has been a “slight uptick” in violent crime throughout the precinct. In a two-year time span the precinct has seen an increase of 1.6 percent, but over the last five years there has been a decrease of 1.6 percent.
A Middle Village resident who has lived in the area for over 20 years said he wasn’t aware of the recent robbery, but isn’t surprised it occurred.
“A lot has changed in the neighborhood over time,” said the resident, who asked that his name be withheld. “About 10 years back is when it really started to get bad. It used to be once a month that the cops would come by, now every other day I hear sirens, so it really would not surprise me at all if there was a gunpoint robbery right here.”