Today’s news:

Robberies spike in E. Flatbush - Gunman uses Craig’s List cover to pull off crimes

Crime is down more than eight percent in East Flatbush, so far this year.

Nonetheless, according to Deputy Inspector William Aubry, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct, the precinct is facing “a little spike” in the area of robberies that, he said, the precinct is, “Trying to nip in the bud.”

In particular, Aubry told members of Community Board 17, the precinct had identified a pattern whereby someone selling or buying a vehicle or an iPod on Craig’s List goes to meet with the other person, and is greeted by a group of teens or young adults who “pull a gun on them” and then commit robbery.

“We have it as a pattern, and we have three arrests,” Aubry noted, warning, “You’re an easy target once you go on line. In addition, part of that pattern is AOL instant messaging. You think you’re talking to a woman, and it’s actually a gang of kids that are meeting an individual at a certain location and pulling out a gun and robbing them.”

Speaking to the group gathered at Public School 198, Farragut Road and Albany Avenue, for the board’s April meeting, Aubry advised, “Just be careful if you’re buying something on Craig’s List or you’re buying something on line and they happen to want to meet.”

In addition, Aubry told the group, another problem has been, “Youth-on-youth type crimes,” specifically thefts of small electronic devices such as cell phones and iPods.

“If your son or daughter has a cell phone, tell them to be careful. You don’t want to walk and talk on it, because people are snatching it from them,” he suggested.

In addition, because robbers tend to target iPods which have distinctive white earbuds, Aubry recommended that iPod owners get different colored earbuds to use with them. “They realize the white ones are actually the iPods, and that’s what kids are trying to take,” he explained.

Overall, Aubry noted, “We’re even in homicides, down in grand larceny auto, grand larceny and burglaries. We’re doing fairly well, considering the loss of manpower and how the rest of the city is doing.”

As of April 13th, the 67th Precinct was down 8.36 percent in the seven major crime categories compared to the prior year. Rapes were down 44.4 percent, with five so far in 2008, compared with nine at this point in 2007.

GLAs were also down substantially, 40.5 percent compared with last year, with 63 so far in 2008 compared with 106 at the same time in 2007.

A third categories, burglary, was down 24.4 percent, with 111 so far in 2008 compared with 147 at the same point in 2007. Grand larcenies were down slightly, with one percent fewer than at this point in 2007

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