It is mainly good news mixed in with some sad news as the 70th Precinct is tabulating year-end crime stats for 2005 at press time. According to the latest official police department Compstat, which is through December 18, major crime is down nearly seven percent overall in the precinct for the year. However, the precinct has seen a slight increase in homicides for the year with 11 as compared to nine through December 18 of 2004. Among these murders was the gunning down of police officer Dillon Stewart on November 28. Stewart was shot as he and his partner Paul Lipka chased down a man running a red light at the intersection of Church and Flatbush avenues. Inspector Robert Richard, the commanding officer of the 70th Precinct, noted that three of the murders actually took place in prior years, but were recorded this year. This includes the murder of a jeweler who was killed by mobsters several years ago and whose body was found this year near Brooklyn College. If we take these numbers in that context, then were down by one murder for the year, Richard said. While murders were up, three other major crime categories including rape, burglary and auto theft were all down in double digit percentages. Rape had a 38 percent drop with 21 reported rapes as of December 18 in 2005 compared 34 in 2004. Auto theft saw a 28 percent drop with 312 reported thefts in 2005 as compared to 432 in 2004. Burglaries dropped nearly 20 percent with 520 such crimes in 2005 as compared to 649 in 2004. Robberies, felony assaults and grand larceny all rose slightly for the year. Robberies increased one percent to 776 for 2005 as compared to 768 in 2004; felony assaults rose nearly four percent with 378 reported in 2005 as compared to 364 in 2004; and grand larceny also increased roughly four percent with 850 such crimes reported in 2005 as compared to 819 in 2004. Richard, reached on January 4, said for the year, crime is down 7.4 percent. According to statistics, the number of shootings in the command fell by roughly 33 percent. Officials said that this year there were 26 shooting victims, as compared to 39 the year before. Despite all of this, Richard said that he has agreed to open up a second Impact Zone in the 70th Precinct. He plans to place the 150 new officers assigned to the Lawrence Street stationhouse in the zones to walk the beat. The borders are not written in cement, he said. But for the first time we are going to have two zones in the command. Richard doesnt see the zones as being a detriment to the community. Its just the opposite, he said. If I had 300 new officers I would make four zones. Its not a negative thing. Its making policing more effective by concentrating police officers in one area. Its the same concept as putting a cop on every block. Tom Tracy contributed to this story.
©2006 Community News Group
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