Today’s news:

Murder rate up to seven in 107 Pct.

The upsurge in killings came in a year when the area recorded an overall 9 percent drop in crime, particularly with burglaries, according to the 107th Precinct, which covers Fresh Meadows, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Briarwood, Holliswood and Kew Gardens Hills.There were also 20 rapes last year, a 18 percent spike from 2004.Three of the homicides occurred since the end of July. The latest happened in Briarwood Dec. 28 when police said an on-leave Army Private fired a bullet into the air that struck Selina Akther, a mother of two, in the eye as she looked out her third-story window. The GI, Daniel Carpio, 23, was charged with manslaughter.Prior to that a man was shot and his body dumped along the Grand Central Parkway and set on fire. On July 30 a dispute between two men left one stabbed to death. Police have made an arrest in the stabbing, but the investigation into the burned body is still ongoing.The remaining slayings included a 68-year-old who is accused of shooting his estranged wife in Holliswood before turning the gun on himself; a 23-year-old who allegedly killed a former girlfriend and her younger brother with a butcher knife in Kew Gardens Hills; and a 17-year-old who was shot to death in broad daylight on a Briarwood street.Of the seven murders, police have made arrests in four.Some authorities point to 2005 as a freak year for murders and not a sign of bad things to come. The 2005 rate marked a 75 percent increase in homicides since four years ago but a 13 percent drop since 1993."I don't see it as a trend," said one 10-year veteran officer in the precinct.He pointed to a cooling in other crimes since 2004, including a 34 percent drop in burglaries and a 23 percent decrease in felonious assaults.The 107th received six new officers from the last Police Academy class, boosting the precinct's head count by about 15 to 20 officers in the last six months.But both rape and robbery continued to rise. The most recent rape happened Sept. 29 when a 21-year-old Bronx man was accused of raping a St. John's University student in her dorm room. The assailant, Rodney Syndor, accepted a plea deal in December that lowered the charge to sexual misconduct. Perhaps the most violent rape the area has seen in years occurred at the Fresh Meadows Apartments in February when a man attacked a 25-year-old woman outside her building as she was taking out her garbage. The suspect, Danny Williams, 27, was still being sought.Besides those incidents, police say most of the rapes last year were domestic-related, which poses less of a threat on the community.The precinct also saw a slight rise in grand larceny from 712 in 2004 to 730 last year.Reach reporter Zach Patberg at news@timesledger.com or at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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