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104th Precinct sees dramatic drop in murders in ‘05

Crime in the 104th Precinct fell nearly 12 percent in 2005 with statistical declines in all seven of the major crime categories - murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto. The precinct, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth, is listed as one of the five lowest-crime precincts in all five boroughs, police said. The precinct's first murder of 2005 took place on March 6 in Ridgewood, when 23-year-old Jose Tavarez allegedly smothered his pregnant girlfriend, Liliana Alvarez, 19, with a pillow, shot her in the head and then fled to the Dominican Republic, where he was arrested upon arrival. According to Alvarez's family members, the couple had been arguing because Alvarez was upset that Tavarez was carrying a gun. A spokeswoman for the DA's office said Tavarez's case is still pending and that he will return to Queens Supreme Court on Feb. 8.The second murder in the 104th Precinct in 2005 occurred on July 17 in Glendale, when Erjon Fheu, 25, was found shot to death mob-style in a Black Jaguar Sedan outside the Amici Cafe on 88th Street, law enforcement sources said. The man was shot numerous times in the head, torso and arms and the assailant fled in a tan Ford Explorer, police said. A spokeswoman for the DA's office said no arrests have been made in the shooting and the case is still under investigation.Rape in the 104th Precinct dropped 18.1 percent this past year to 18 incidents from 22 incidents in 2004. Robbery fell from 320 cases in 2004 to 309 in 2005, representing a 3.4 percent drop. Felonious assault decreased from 213 incidents in 2004 to 169 in 2005 for a 20.6 percent retreat.Burglary dropped 10.2 percent to 515 incidents in 2005 from 574 in 2004. Grand larceny was 9.8 percent lower in the precinct this year, down to 548 incidents this past year from 608 in 2004, while grand larceny auto dropped 15.7 percent in 2005. In 2004, there were 521 cases of grand larceny auto, while there were only 439 incidents in 2005.Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, said crime statistics were not the only noticeable area of improvement at the precinct in 2005."We used to be dead last [in the city] for response time," he said. "Now we are doing quite well - we are in the middle of the pack."Holden praised the initiatives of Precinct Capt. Scott Shanley, who has been with the 104th for about 1 1/2 years, to lower crime and improve the four communities the precinct serves.Holden said the focus in the precinct has been shifting from serious crimes to quality-of-life issues and traffic enforcement in recent years. He said better enforcement of traffic is a key area for improvement in the precinct."We are not worried about violent crimes - we are worried about crossing the street," Holden said. "The NYPD needs to enforce against moving violations, speeding and people who run red lights."Holden also said quality-of-life issues, such as disorderly conduct and public consumption of alcohol, should also become areas of focus. However, he said the precinct has made significant improvement in the communities it serves in the past year."There is definitely the feeling of being safe in the neighborhood," he said.Reach reporter Nathan Duke at or at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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