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Major crime drops in Queens in 2006

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At his annual legislative breakfast, Brown told city, state and federal elected officials from Queens that homicides, which were at a high of 361 in 1991, had dropped to just 84 last year, the lowest number in 40 years and a 10.6 percent decrease from 2005, which saw 94. He noted that Queens was the only borough to see a decrease in homicides last year.Major crimes, such as violent crimes, burglaries, grand larcenies and auto theft, also declined in 2006, down 3.8 percent from 2005, Brown said. Overall, major crime categories have been reduced 26 percent over the last five years and 74 percent since 1993, he said."Auto theft has long been the benchmark in measuring our effectiveness in combating crime," Brown said. "In 1991, when I first took office, there were some 52,000 cars stolen in Queens County. Last year, we were less than 5,000 - that's a decrease of 10.3 percent for the year and more than 90 percent since the early 1990s."Brown added that while serious crime dropped dramatically across the borough, the total number of prosecutions - including nonviolent and quality of life offenses - was up 8.6 percent over 2005."For the first time in Queens County history, criminal prosecutions exceeded the 70,000 mark," he said. Queens accounted for one-fifth of all citywide violent felony arrests but nearly one-fourth of the city's convictions and prison sentences, Brown said. Queens' felony conviction rate of 94.6 percent was the best in the city, Brown said.The county also saw a big jump in child abuse cases in 2006 - 3,550, up from 2,200 in 2005 - and Brown said his office will need funding for a dedicated program.Brown said his office will also need to seek funding soon for its Domestic Violence Bureau, which has more pre-indictment felony pleas than the rest of the city combined. The bureau has long received money from the Federal Violence Against Women Act, cash that will soon run out, he said.The DA's office is also committed to expanding programs that target youth violence and gang activity, especially where it is linked to drug and gun trafficking, Brown said.

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