Today’s news:

Crime ratede clines in 108th Pct.

Robbery incidents jumped 10.2 percent from 117 during the first six months of 2003 to 129 during the same period this year, police crime data show. Burglary rates also climbed for the year-to-date, up 6.7 percent with 270 cases this year as compared to 253 at the same time last year.

The average crime rate, however, dipped 3.7 percent, driven by a precipitous decline in the rape rate.

By this time last year, 13 rapes had been reported in the precinct which covers Woodside, Sunnyside and Long Island City.

As of June 20, two rapes had been reported in the precinct, a decline of 84.6 percent.

Rape rose precipitously in the decade between 1993 and 2003, bucking a citywide downward trend.

In 2003, the precinct had 23 recorded rapes, a 91.6 percent increase over 1993's numbers.

A 27-year-old boiler mechanic from Sunnyside was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a series of sexual attacks against women in Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City over the course of five months in 2003.

None of Alberto Duque's attacks, however, occurred during the first six months of the year within the confines of the precinct.

Murder, felony assault, major theft and car theft rates were also down for the first six months of the year.

Murder dropped 33 percent, from three this time last year to two. Reports of felony assault dropped 2.7 percent from 73 in 2003 to 71 so far this year. Major theft - items valued at more than $1,000 - declined 12.3 percent, from 276 in 2003 to 242 so far this year. And car theft eased 7.1 percent from last year's figures, falling from 237 incidents to 220.

The 108th Precinct declined to comment.

Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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