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Crime drops in 114th Precinct despite rise in rape

The precinct, which covers Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Woodside and Jackson Heights, experienced an 8.2 percent decline in felonious assaults, an 18.8 percent drop in burglaries, a 7.3 dip in grand larceny incidents and a 15.7 decrease in grand larceny auto incidents in 2006, police said.But the number of rapes in the precinct increased 24 percent from 33 reported incidents in 2005 to 41 incidents in 2006, and the number of robberies rose 8.5 percent from 420 incidents to 456 incidents, police said.The precinct reported eight murders in 2006, which was the same number it reported in 2005 and 2004.The year's first murder was a double homicide. Syracuse resident Kendall Scott, 17, and Joseph Williams, 31, of Hempstead, were shot and killed in front of the A.Q. Juice Bar on 27th Avenue in Astoria, police said.Police arrested Astoria residents Johnny Banks, 32, and Frederich Donovan, 19, in the shooting, which a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said was likely gang-related. The year's third murder took place Jan. 6 outside the Santorini Cafe on Steinway Street. Ervin Zimonjic, 42, of Ridgewood, died from stab wounds he received during an early morning argument with two unidentified men in the cafe that spilled out into the street, police said. No arrests have been made, they said.The fourth murder occurred at a 31st Avenue apartment in Astoria Jan. 9. Police found Armando Perez, a 45-year-old Mexican immigrant, stabbed to death in his apartment. Ricardo Garcia-Villegas, 51, of the Bronx, was arrested in the murder, which occurred during a dispute about loud music levels, a DA spokeswoman said.The year's fifth murder occurred June 3 at the intersection of 47th Road and 12th Street in Long Island City when 47-year-old homeless deaf mute William Washington allegedly struck an unidentified Hispanic man repeatedly over the head with a brick, killing him, Brown said. Washington allegedly removed all the cash from the victim's pocket, he said.On Dec. 15, police arrested former Long Island City resident Erik Johnson, 40, for allegedly fatally stabbing his 39-year-old ex-girlfriend and mother of three, Asma Johnson, at Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City Nov. 8 in the year's sixth murder, Brown said. Defendants in each case face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, a DA spokeswoman said.The year's final two murders are both unsolved. On June 8, police discovered the body of Pennsylvania resident Mercelo Chimbarazo, 22, on 48th Street in Astoria. On Dec. 29, police said they discovered the body of an unidentified male at Astoria Houses with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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