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Crime drops in 104th by 14%

The precinct, which covers Glendale, Ridgewood, Middle Village and Maspeth, saw dips in five of the seven major crime categories, including rape, robbery, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto, according to precinct statistics.But the precinct reported four murders during the past year, which is double the number for 2006, and felony assaults jumped from 134 incidents in 2006 to 151 in 2007, police said.After police determined that a mother had allegedly put her one-week-old baby in a plastic bag in a closet in an undisclosed neighborhood, police reclassified the case to become the precinct's first homicide of the year. The baby had been taken to Elmhurst Hospital where it later died, police said.The year's second murder occurred on June 2 when 31-year-old Middle Village resident Edmond Huertas is accused of shooting Joanne Camacho, his 26-year-old girlfriend, in the head during an argument at her Middle Village home, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Huertas, who lives at 63-17 Eliot Ave., was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, Brown said. The defendant, who works as an independent contractor, could face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, the DA said.The third murder of the year took place on July 31 when a quiet Ridgewood street suddenly became a shooting gallery in what appeared to be an Albanian mob-related incident, the DA said. Lulzim Kupi, 42, of 60-30 Putnam Ave. in Ridgewood, was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon after he allegedly shot Gentian Kasa, 42, of Linden Street in Ridgewood, in front of the defendant's home, Brown said. Kupi told police that Kasa and another man had come to his home to demand money, threatening his wife and mother and then trying to force their way into his house, the DA said.Kupi allegedly fired on the two men after they pulled out guns, the DA said. The defendant chased Kasa down as he ran to his car and fatally shot him, Brown said. Both Kasa and Redinel Dervishaj, who accompanied Kasa to Kupi's home, are both reputed Albanian mob associates, the DA said. If convicted, Kupi could face 25 years to life in prison, he said.The year's final murder took place on Sept. 10 when Ridgewood resident Martha Vega, 50, was discovered beaten to death at her home on Cornelia Street, the DA said. The victim, a Dominican immigrant who worked as a home attendant, was discovered by her landlord in the basement of her apartment with a trauma to her head, Brown said.No arrests have been made in that case, but Green said he believed the murder would be solved.The precinct's number of felony assaults also rose in 2007 to 151 from 134 during the previous year, police said.But the other five major crime categories dropped during the past year. The number of rapes fell from 26 incidents in 2006 to 12 in 2007, while the number of robberies dipped from 293 during the previous year to 286 in 2007, police said.Burglary fell from 498 incidents in 2006 to 433 during the past year, while grand larceny fell from 508 incidents in 2006 to 411 in 2007 and grand larceny auto dropped from 444 incidents in 2006 to 339 in 2007, police said.Green said the precinct's overall drop was the eighth biggest decrease in all city precincts.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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