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Crime falls 10.5% in 104th Precinct

Overall crime in the 104th Precinct dropped by 10.5 percent in the first half of the year from comparable 2000 levels, although the area saw marked increases in both felony assaults and grand larceny, police said.

The statistics, revealed in a report issued by the New York City Police Department, continue a nearly decade-long trend of crime reduction across the city. The NYPD report breaks down crimes into seven major categories: murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny of an auto, comparing current rates with those from last year, two years ago and eight years ago.

The 104th precinct includes the communities of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.

Felony assaults in the precinct jumped by 44.4 percent in the period from Jan. 1 through June 24 from 99 in the first six months of 2000 to 143 so far this year. Assaults were also the only category which showed an increase compared to eight years ago, having risen 7.5 percent in that time.

Although grand larcenies were down more than 15 percent compared to eight years ago, they have increased by 32.6 percent since last year, rising from 184 in the first half of 2000 to a current level of 244. Grand larceny involves the theft of more than $1,500.

The most extreme reductions over the past eight years came in murders, which saw a 70 percent drop, and auto thefts, which fell by over 76 percent.

Murders dropped by 25 percent since last year — from four in the first part of 2000 to only three thus far this year. Auto thefts dropped by 20.9 percent over the same period from 524 to 414.

Robberies and burglaries both declined since last year. Burglaries, defined as theft from a premise, fell from 450 early last year to 334 thus far this year, a 25.7 percent drop. Robbery, or theft from a person, fell by 16.2 percent, from 179 last year to 150 this year.

Rape was the only crime which remained constant in the past year, with 10 such attacks registered in the first six months of 2000 and 2001.

All city precincts, including the 104th, compile and submit their crime numbers to police headquarters in Manhattan every Monday. The reports are used to assemble crime statistics and are ultimately sent to the FBI.

The precinct saw a notable 17 percent reduction in crime in the first three months of last year, when Capt. Joseph Culbert took the helm. Culbert was removed in April, however, amid allegations he disrespected a supervisor, which was eventually shown to be false.

The police statistics affirm that crime has continued to drop under Culbert’s successor, Capt. Thomas Cusanelli, who has led the department for more than a year.

104th Police Precinct Community Council President Michael Hetzer warned that crime statistics cannot be read too literally as variables such as the community’s reliability in reporting crimes can affect the bottom line.

“Everyone’s been working with Capt. Cusanelli and I’m happy certainly with his interaction with the community leaders,” Hetzer said. “I think he’s trying to do a good job.”

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154

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