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Murders tripled, thefts fell in 109th Pct. last year: Stats

In the 109th Precinct, the murder rate tripled last year over the level recorded in 2003. In 2003, four murders were reported in the northeast Queens precinct, but in 2004 there were 12. Percentages dropped in every other major crime category, however.The first of 12 slayings occurred in February, when a male 16-year-old Chinese teenager was charged with stabbing and killing a 15-year-old who was sitting on his stoop on Maple Avenue in Flushing.Several Asian teenagers were brought into the 109th Precinct at 37-05 Union St. in Flushing during the investigation. Only one was arrested.The precinct covers downtown Flushing, East Flushing, Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace -- an area with a population of nearly 250,000.In March, a deadly fire in Bay Terrace was traced to a woman who was supposed to be keeping an eye on the girls who wound up trapped in the midnight fire. A New Jersey woman allegedly dropped a burning towel down on a couch, igniting a blaze that killed a 14-year-old Korean girl and left her roommate in critical condition. The woman was sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison in November.Over the summer, a club shooting took the lives of a clubgoer and a waitress at the Red Rose Club in Flushing.It was a late July night when gunmen opened fire at the nightspot, killing a 33-year-old man from Chinatown and the waitress who died in New York Hospital Queens.The following month, a mother of two, was killed in a high-profile case that wound up catching the attention of the major New York radio station Z-100.Usha Taneja left her College Point home with an unusually large amount of cash on Aug. 20, which she was going to use to pay wedding vendors who were supposed to cater her son's ceremony the following day. A street robbing resulted in her death, and prevented the couple from having the elaborate Hindu wedding they had planned. Later Z-100 radio station sponsored a free wedding contest which Taneja's son and his bride-to-be won.Taneja's murder remains unsolved.Also in August, an Asian man's body was found mangled in a garbage compactor in a Flushing apartment building and a shooting on Parsons Boulevard left one person dead, police said.The following month, an elderly man was arrested after his wife was found beaten to death by a broomstick in their north Flushing home. An Alzheimer's patient, the man was held pending a psychiatric evaluation in connection with the 80-year-old woman's death.In October, a 15-year-old female student at Flushing High School died after a knife-fight over a boy in the street outside of Latimer Gardens housing project. Three people, the boy and two girls, were charged in connection with the fatal stabbing.On 126th Street in College Point in November, a stabbing that appeared to be drug- and money-related at the time, took the life of one Brooklyn man.Also in November, a landlady on Parsons Boulevard in Flushing was found stabbed to death in a makeshift bunker behind her illegally converted home, police said.In early December, a correction officer who worked at Rikers Island was shot dead at a party in the Sheraton LaGuardia East, just blocks from his downtown Flushing home.Police continue to search for suspects in the Sheraton LaGuardia shooting and College Point stabbing. Anyone with information can reach Crimestoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.Robberies in the precinct fell by 23 percent in the last year, while burglaries dropped by 36 percent and grand larceny auto thefts fell by 16 percent. Over the past 11 years, grand larceny auto thefts - which once was a major problem in the northeast precinct- fell by 85 percent, while robberies dropped by 75 percent and rapes by 53 percent, according to statistics released by the Police Department.Rapes dropped by 11 percent last year and grand larceny fell by 16 percent, police statistics showed.Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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