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Borough murders dip below century mark

For the first time in more than three decades there were fewer than 100 murders in 2001 in the borough, the Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

According to Brown, statistics indicate that murders were nearly 25 percent below the 2000 number. He said the last time murders dropped under the century mark was in 1969, when there were 92 homicides in Queens.

As of Dec. 23, NYPD Compstat figures, which are used to track crimes, had recorded 85 murders in Queens County.

“At this pace, by the end of the year Queens homicides will have fallen to a rate of 3.8 homicides per 100,000 persons — the homicide rate, which was last recorded back in 1965 and before that in 1931,” Brown said.

“Similarly,” he said, there have been major decreases during 2001 in Queens in gun-related homicides, stranger-to-stranger homicides and robbery related homicides.

In 2000 in the borough there was 112 murders, or a rate of five people killed per 100,000 people living in Queens. In 2001 the number declined to 3.8 per 100,000 borough residents.

The district attorney said as of Dec. 16 murders had risen in only four of the borough’s 16 precincts. Murders in the 105th Precinct increased from six to 16, in the 107th Precinct from three to four, in the 108th Precinct from two to three and in the 110th Precinct from five to nine. The murder rate in the borough’s 12 other precincts either remained the same or dropped, Brown said.

“A multiplicity of factors have contributed to the sharp drop in the number and rate of homicides,” he said. “The Police Department’s tough crime control strategies and our office’s focus on career criminals and other violent predators continue to reap solid public safety benefits.

“Police, prosecutors and concerned Queens residents who work through their local police precinct councils and community boards are partners in the war on crime,” Brown said. “Vigilance, cooperation and teamwork are paying dividends. Our overall quality of life continues to improve significantly.”

Brown said since 1898 the lowest murder rates in Queens were during the years encompassing World War II when there was 1.1 murders per 100,000 people. The highest murder rates, Brown said, were the 16.1 per 100,000 in 1991 and 17 per 100,000 residents in 1992.

“By continuing and expanding on the successful strategies that we have employed in the last few years,” the district attorney said, “I am hopeful that we will be able to reduce crime even further during the years ahead.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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