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61st Police Pct. knocks down felony crime - It’s the second-largest reduction in the city

With a 16-percent drop in felony crime in 2006, the Sheepshead Bay precinct had the second-largest crime reduction in the city, Captain Vincent Stella, commanding officer of the 61st Precinct said last week. The good news was given to members of the 61st Precinct Community Council during their first meeting of 2007, where Stella said that he and his officers aren’t going to be sitting on past laurels. “We’re going to continue right where we left off,” he said. “We’re not going to cut back at all.” According to NYPD CompStat statistics, the crime barometer used by 1 Police Plaza to gauge success, the 61st Precinct saw a 16-percent drop in felony crime in 2006. The precinct saw reductions in everything from murder to car thefts, including a 38-percent drop in rape reports, a five-percent decrease in robberies and an 18-percent fall in burglaries, statistics show. “Seventy-five of 76 commands had more crime than we did, so we’re the second-best in the city,” said Stella, who added that he has seen consistent crime reductions in the 61st Precinct since taking charge just over two years ago. “In 2004, we had about 44 major crimes a week,” Stella explained. “In 2005, we had just about 40 major crimes a week. In 2006, we have something like 34 major crimes a week.” The trend is continuing into 2007, Stella said. “In the first week of the year, we had 29 major crimes, versus 34 last year,” Stella said. “But we’re going to hit some bumps in the road.” “Crime is not going to go down every week,” he said. The 61st Precinct has a better chance of continuing its decrease in crime thanks to a new cadre of officers that were just assigned. Stella said that eight new officers joined the 61st Precinct at the beginning of the year. An additional four cops are being transferred to the precinct from Patrol Borough Brooklyn South. “That’s 12 more cops right at the start of the year,” he said. “That’s what’s been helping us keep on top of crime reductions over the last three years.” Stella said that the precinct’s success can be boiled down to the hard work of his officers and the ever-growing relationship with the community. The 61st Precinct protects residents in Sheepshead Bay, Homecrest, Gravesend, Manhattan Beach, as well as parts of Midwood. Over the past 13 years, when the CompStat system was first instituted, felony crime in the 61st Precinct has fallen by just over 78 percent.

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