Rash of fire-escape burglaries has Astoria residents on edge

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ASTORIA, Queens (PIX11) – Police still do not have any description of suspects who are breaking into dozens of residential buildings in Astoria.

There have been 39 burglaries reported since November, of which seven took place on 34th Street, between 30th and 31st Avenues, according to police.

Ethan Boisvert lives on that stretch, and wants to make sure his roommates are aware.

“It’s probably the most important thing, that everyone is on the same page,” said Boisvert.  “All you need is to have one person to have the door unlocked, and boom, there you go.”

Fire escape burglaries

Police are warning Astoria residents of burglars scaling fire escapes to test for unlocked windows after a rash of break-ins.

Cops have blanketed apartment buildings with fliers describing the frightening pattern.   The brazen burglars strike during the day.  Police believe they gain access to rooftops, then walk down fire escapes, searching for unsecured windows.  They’ve been leaving apartments with electronics, jewelry and cash, according to police.

Statistics from Queens North, which includes Astoria, show burglaries are up 23 percent so far this year, while during the same period reported break-ins went down 4 percent citywide.

“What police are doing, they take all the crime stats and burglaries, and they take the average time these are happening.  And they form a task force…and saturate the areas,” said former detective sergeant Wally Zeins.  They also work with different informants.”

Police are making available crime prevention specialists to survey apartments.  Anyone who is interested should call the 114 precinct at (718) 626-9324 or (718) 626-9327.