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Crime-Busting ‘05: How Well Did Local Cops Do?

On the average, precincts in downtown Brooklyn saw a three percent drop in crime at the close of 2005, with cops from one area stationhouse celebrating the accomplishment of the impossible: two years without homicides. According to statistics, the 84th Precinct, which covers Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, saw no killings in both 2005 and 2004 – a feat almost unheard of on the area. Each of the other precincts in downtown Brooklyn – the 76th Precinct in Carroll Gardens, the 78th Precinct in Park Slope and the 88th Precinct in Fort Greene — conducted at least one homicide investigation for the year, according to statistics. The 76th Precinct led the pack with four homicides, followed by the 78th Precinct, who investigated three killings in 2005, the exact same number in 2004. According to crime statistics dated on December 18, the last time crime reports were made public, the 84th Precinct was celebrating a three percent drop in felony crime, with reductions in both felonious assault and burglary. The precinct had suffered an eight percent increase in robberies — from 213 in 2004 to 231 in 2005, according to officials. Calls to Deputy Inspector Philip Sferrazza, the commanding officer of the 84th Precinct, for comment were not returned as this paper went to press. Crime this year saw a modest decline in the 76th Precinct, which covers Carroll Gardens, Gowanus and Red Hook. The precinct saw a 1.9 percent drop in felony crimes reported this year, Deputy Inspector Joseph Cassidy, the precinct’s commanding officer, said this week at the 76th Precinct Community Council. In three of the seven crime categories tracked by the NYPD, the precinct saw declines compared to last year. According to Cassidy, there was a 62.5 percent decrease in rapes (three reported this year compared to eight in 2004); a four percent decrease in burglaries (159 in 2005 compared to 166 in 2004); and a 15 percent drop in reported felonious assaults (98 this year compared to 115 in 2004). Four categories were up in 2005. There were four murders committed in the precinct, compared with just one in 2004—a jump of 300 percent. In three of those murders, arrests have been made, Cassidy said. Grand larcenies, or non-violent thefts of $1,000 or more, which include crimes regarding identity theft and credit card fraud, jumped .8 percent in 2005, (239 reported compared to 237); and car thefts climbed 7 percent, (119 compared to 111 in 2004), Cassidy said. Robberies were up slightly, with one more reported in 2005 than in 2004 (147 compared to 146 last year). The precinct is down in the number of civilian complaints, (nine in 2005 compared to 14 last year). an indicator, Cassidy said, of how, “professional and courteous” his cops are. Showing a 2.3 percent drop in crime is the 78th Precinct, where cops admit that a string of air bag thefts in the area led to a large increase grand larcenies in 2005. “We have received six new officers from the academy class and may be getting six more,” said Deputy Inspector Thomas Harris, the commanding officer of the 78th Precinct. Coupled with redoubled efforts from the borough’s Auto Larceny and Major Case squads the new officers on the late night tours will hopefully “put a dent” in the air bag thefts that have been plaguing the community, Harris said. The 78th Precinct saw a six percent drop in felony assaults (from 81 in 2004 to 75 in 2005) and 100 fewer burglaries, from 284 to 184. Robberies in Park Slope jumped from 223 in 2004 to 240 last year, according to statistics. Over in Fort Greene, Captain Ross LaMorte, the 88th Precinct’s executive officer, said that the year ended with a 1.5 percent drop in crime with an 80 percent reduction in homicides, from five in 2004 to just one this year. Rape reports in the precinct fell by 36 percent while car thefts dropped by eleven percent, LaMorte said, adding that his officers will be focusing on robberies and burglaries in 2006. As of December 18, burglaries in the command had jumped by 14 percent, from 198 in 2004 to 226 late last month. Crime in Fort Greene has dropped by 68 percent in the last twelve years, according to reports. Police from Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, which oversees the activities of the 76th and 78th precincts, said that a small rise in youth-on-youth crime in some of the precincts in the southern end of Brooklyn has caused robbery numbers in Brooklyn South to jump by .2 percent, from 4,278 in 2004 to 4,290 at the close of 2005, according to high-ranking officials. The number of homicides remained the same at 95, while the number of shooting incidents jumped by over two percent, following a disturbing trend faced throughout the city. Year-end statistics, which have yet to be made public, show that there were a total of 22,935 felony crimes in 2005, 539 less than the 23,674 the year before. The numbers show that rape reports in the area have dropped by 7.4 percent, felony assaults jumped by two percent and burglaries have dropped by 11.8 percent, from 5,229 in 2004 to 4,619 this year. Grand larcenies jumped by 2.4 percent while car thefts fell by 8.8 percent. Over the last 12 years, felony crime in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South has fallen by 68.3 percent, according to Assistant Chief Joseph Fox, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South. “When we looked at the numbers, we found a trend in the spring that resurfaced in the fall and that trend had to do with teen on teen crime,” Fox said. “We didn’t want to target our youth,” Fox said. “But we wanted to create safe passages for our young people as they go to and from school.” Once the plan was implemented, crimes against youths decreased, said Fox. “It was a robust plan that involved the redeployment of specialized units and police officers,” he said, adding that the continued crime reductions in the command were from the dedication of “all of our police officers, our commanders and all of our support units like narcotics, detectives and warrants squads.” Fox also credited all of the community leaders and activists who “helped us identify trends and conditions that threaten our quality of life.” “It was a good year,” said Fox. “Our planning and implementation of Impact Zones have given us more crime reductions.” Fox admitted that there was a “marginal” increase in gun violence this year. Unofficial statistics show that there were six more shootings in 2005 than in 2004, which capped off at 242. Out of the 248 shootings in 2005, a total of 295 people were wounded, according to the numbers. The number of gun arrests in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South was also up for the year, by two percent. “Our shootings are up slightly, but our arrests are also up,” said Fox. “We will be redoubling all of our efforts.” According to the hard numbers, there were over 43,000 felony arrests in Brooklyn South in 2005 – two percent more than the year before. Approximately 6,000 of these arrests were made by various narcotic units in Brooklyn South.

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