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Cops Forecast Another Tough Year For Canarsie Criminals

Celebrating another year of crime reduction, as well as a whopping 18 percent reduction in robberies, cops from the 69th Precinct plan to use their past successes as a springboard in ensuring that 2006 is one of Canarsie’s safest year on record. “In some categories, we had double digit reductions [for 2005],” said Captain Ralph Monteforte, the commanding officer for the 69th Precinct on Foster Avenue. “For the new year, we’re going to continue our trend in reduction of crime, especially in the reduction of robberies.” For 2005, the precinct was down 81 crimes, and showed a 5.24 percent decrease, compared with 2004, in the seven index crimes – murder, rape, robbery, burglary, felonious assault, grand larceny and grand larceny auto – Monteforte told members of the Friends United Block Association at Temple Shaare Emeth, 6012 Farragut Road, earlier this month. That decrease, stressed Monteforte, was “Kind of average with the city average.” In the 69th Precinct, there were 1,465 occurrences of the seven major index crimes in 2005, compared with 1,546 in 2004. When the year came to a close, cops from the 69th Precinct saw a decreases in five of the seven index crimes. Cops saw slumps in homicide cases, with four in 2005, compared with nine in 2004. The most “significant” decrease by far was in the number of robberies, with 281 robberies in 2005, compared with 343 the previous year, or a drop of 18 percent. Furthermore, Monteforte noted, over the past two years, the number of robberies fell 31.6 percent. Felonious assaults were also down, from 221 in 2004 to 198 in 2005, said Monteforte, as were burglaries, with 203 in 2005, compared with 230 in 2004 --- a drop of 11.5 percent. Finally, the 69th Precinct showed a reduction in car thefts, from 333 in 2004 to 288 in 2005, for a decrease of 13.5 percent over the past year, and a decrease of 30.9 percent over the past two years. There has also been a significant increase in the number of guns taken off the street within the borders of the 69th Precinct. In 2004, said Monteforte, the precinct recovered 24 firearms. In 2005, it took 42 firearms off the streets, for a 75 percent increase, he noted. Shootings, however, are another problem. Gunplay in the 69th Precinct jumped up from 16 incidents in 2004 to 21 last year. As of December 4, the number of shootings in Canarsie was exactly the same as it was back in 1993, which is considered to be city’s “high crime” days. By the end of December, the number of shootings in 1993 outpaced those in 2005, showing a eight percent decrease over the last 12 years. “We caught up,” said Monteforte. Two other areas of consternation for Monteforte was rape, with 24 in 2005, compared with 22 in 2004. All of the precinct’s rape victims in 2005 knew their attackers, said Monteforte noted, “There were no stranger rapes.” The other of the seven index crimes which saw an increase in the 69th Precinct over the past year was grand larceny, with 467 in 2005, compared with 388 in 2004, for a 19 percent increase. Largely, said Monteforte, the increase in grand larceny reflected identity theft and thefts of automobile parts, many of which are valued at over $1,000, the threshold for grand larceny. The theft of car parts, however, has “slowed up a little bit” over the past few months, said Monteforte, who explained, “We locked up a key person, a known felon with 30 or 31 past arrests, many for breaking into vehicles. He was arrested in cooperation with the DA’s office and he has been in jail for four or five months, which is one of the reason larcenies are down recently.” In addition, said Monteforte, in the area of identity theft, “We locked up three people this year who were stealing mail out of people’s mailboxes, and opening up credit cards under other people’s names.” The arrest of the three individuals, along with a public awareness effort, with the precinct encouraging area residents to lock their mailboxes, had contributed to the decrease of grand larcenies in the community over the past two or three months, said Monteforte. Another contributing factor was additional patrols in the midnight hours, the time, said Monteforte, when the majority of car parts are stolen, as well as a campaign to encourage VIN etching of car parts, not just windshields. The relationship between the precinct and the community is a good one, Monteforte opined. He said that, “The public helped us out this year several times, with people breaking into cars. If they continue to do that, that will help us continue to catch the bad guys.”

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