Today’s news:

Chain-snatchers target women - Bay Ridge residents on alert after spree of attacks

A series of chain-snatchings involving one of Bay Ridge’s most vulnerable populations is putting cops on alert and a concerned community on edge.

Police said that a thief or crew of thieves responsible for robbing middle-aged and elderly woman of their gold jewelry have turned a small section of Bay Ridge into their hunting ground.

Officials from the 68th Precinct said that at least five chain-snatchings have been committed in the 80s between Third and Fifth avenues – a usually quiet part of Bay Ridge when it comes to crime.

In each case, the thieves stopped their victim in the street, ripped the chain off their neck and kept going.

No serious injuries had been reported.

“[These criminals] are attacking the elderly. We really want to get these guys,” explained Inspector Eric Rodriguez, the commanding officer of the 68th Precinct.

Last week, when the chain-snatching pattern had been established, Rodriguez had been toggling resources between searching for the chain-snatchers and tracking down the man responsible for a rape on Fort Hamilton Parkway the week before.

Now that the rapist has been captured, Rodriguez is focusing on apprehending the chain-snatchers.

“We’ve increased patrols in the area,” the commander said.

The criminal activities of these few suspects have sent robberies in the 68th Precinct skyrocketing.

According to recently released CompStat figures, the number of robberies in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights has jumped by 36 percent since the middle of August to the middle of September.

The percentage, however, is just an increase of four incidents – which is roughly the same amount the chain-snatchers are being sought for.

Statistics show that between mid-August and September 21 of 2007, 11 robberies took place.

During the same month this year, 15 occurred.

Statistics also show that robberies in the command are up for the year – by nearly 30 percent. Police said that 84 robberies were being investigated by cops from the 68th Precinct by September 21, 2007.

This year, 109 robberies had been reported to the 65th Street stationhouse by that date, officials said.

Despite the up-tick in robberies, felony crime is still down for the command – by six percent, officials said.

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