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Flushing Meadows crime rate called second highest

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Flushing Meadows had 99 major crimes between April 2006 and September 2007, the report showed. Central Park had 162 crimes for the same period, while Brooklyn's Prospect Park ranked third with 57 crimes.The report tracked the number of murders, rapes, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries, grand larcenies and auto thefts in the park. These categories are also the basis of CompStat, the NYPD's crime tracking program.Of the 99 major crimes in Flushing Meadows, one was a murder and two were rapes. No murders and one rape were reported in Central Park during the same 18-month period, while Prospect Park had one murder and one rape. Crime trends in the city's parks are difficult to track. Central Park, which has its own police precinct showed a 72 percent drop in major crimes from 1990 to 2006, NYPD statistics show. The report said crime increased slightly from 2006 to 2007 in the 20 parks it surveyed, but noted, "If historical data on crimes in the remaining parks systems were available, similar declines [to Central Park] might be apparent."By far the most common crime in Flushing Meadows was grand larceny, of which police recorded 45 incidents during the 18 months of the study. According to the report, the NYPD attributed one-third of the crime in the park in 2006 and nearly one-half in 2007 to the two major sports facilities there: Shea Stadium and the United States Tennis Association's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.In September 2007, the NYPD broke up a side-view mirror theft ring in nearby Willets Point after many fans who parked at Shea Stadium for a Mets game found their cars had been stripped.In terms of violent crimes, Flushing Meadows actually ranked third in the city. Some 39 percent of the park's major crimes were violent, compared with 35 percent in Central Park and 70 percent in Prospect Park. Going by raw numbers, 39 of Flushing Meadows' major index crimes were violent, compared with 56 in Central Park and 40 in Prospect Park.Flushing Meadows, with 18 robberies, had far fewer than Central Park, which had 44, or Prospect Park, which had 29.But Flushing Meadows also had 18 felony assaults, seven more than Central Park and twice as many as Prospect Park.New Yorkers for Parks called on the NYPD to track and report crime in the city's 100 largest parks and asked the Parks Department to make funding available for more Parks Enforcement Patrol officers. The group also called for posting crime information on the Parks Department's Web site.In response to the report, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said his department added 81 enforcement officers to the roster over the past two years.Benepe also agreed to update park sites with safety recommendations, but said crime statistics are the NYPD's domain.The data for Flushing Meadows includes a spate of brutal robberies in late 2006. A total of nine people were robbed in the attacks, starting with a Nov. 22 assault on 33-year-old Little Neck resident Jae-Woo Park, who remains comatose more than a year later. On Dec. 7, 2006, Police also discovered a man's body floating in Meadow Lake with apparent head trauma and stab wounds to the torso.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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