Residents Told Lock Windows: Astoria Fire Escape Crime Spree

ASTORIA – A crime wave of break-ins through fire escape windows in Astoria has prompted the NYPD to warn residents to lock their windows, CBS New York reported.

Even apartment dwellers who live on high floors are not shielded from break-ins, police said, because the burglars can access the fire escapes through the building roofs and climb down.

There have been 39 such break-ins throughout the heart of Astoria – from 33rd to 47th Streets and 30th to 31st Avenues according to the NYPD, CBS New York reported, with seven recent ones on 34th Street.

Police said the break-ins usually occur during the day, with the burglars accessing the fire escapes through the roof, climbing down and in through people’s windows, and stealing jewelry and other small items.

Police also said, according to CBS New York, that these break-ins might be the work of more than just a single burglar.

George Kitsios, the honorary president of the Greek American Homeowners Association urges residents to keep windows locked and to make fire escape stairs unreachable from the street. He added that security alarms should be places on roof doors.

New York State Senator Michael Gianaris told The National Herald that “we can’t take for granted the gains we made against crime over the last two decades. It doesn’t take much for a safe community to become unsafe. We must remain vigilant.”

He added “We know the men and women of the 114th Precinct are doing their best but we need to give them the resources they need to succeed…additional officers must be assigned there.”

Costa Constantinides, the district’s recently-elected Councilmember, told CBS New York that he absolutely encourages residents to lock their windows when they are away from home.

“This is unacceptable,” he told TNH, “but I have spoken to the 114th precinct and they are working diligently on the cases. They have also increased the plainclothes and uniformed police presence in the 30th Avenue area.”

Constantinides advises residents to keep their blinds drawn and to make sure the front doors to their building are locked. He noted that when he thieves reach a roof from the front door, they can access numerous roofs because many buildings are connected.