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Felony crime up, 60th Pct. reports

Leading the way in this increase is burglary, which is up about 52 percent with 44 burglaries reported thus far this year as compared to 29 at this time in 2007.

By Stephen Witt

Felony crime is on the increase in the 60th Precinct, according to the latest police statistics.

In the major crime categories including murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary grand larceny and auto theft, crime is up about 15.5 percent for the year.

Leading the way in this increase is burglary, which is up about 52 percent with 44 burglaries reported thus far this year as compared to 29 at this time in 2007.

Deputy Inspector Robert Johnsen, commanding officer of the precinct, attributed the increase in burglaries to recidivist criminals.

"A lot of people we put away last year are out and we're monitoring our parolees. Our arrests are up in the category of burglaries," said Johnsen.

Felony assaults are up in the precinct about 33 percent with 60 reported incidents thus far in 2008 as compared to 45 at this time last year.

"Unfortunately, we had 23 [felony assault] cases in 28 days. Twenty of those cases are closed arrests. It's people that know each other. It starts off as a verbal dispute, they disagree, they take something and hit each other. There's an injury. They get arrested," Johnsen said.

Robberies are up about 16 percent with 64 incidents reported thus far this year as compared to 55 at this time last year.

Johnsen said this rise is partially due to the great job cops did on robberies last year.

"This year were doing okay in robberies. Unfortunately, a lot more people are being robbed for their electronics, whether it's iPods or cell phones. There's a lot more people that have these products and there's a lot of people that want to take these products," said Johnsen.

Johnsen said police in the precinct are aware of the situation and targeting the robberies, in which many of the crimes are committed by people under the age of 20.

Auto thefts are even thus far this year with 23 reported incidents in 2008 and 23 reported at this time in 2007.

Likewise, grand larceny has seen an increase of only one incident with 106 reported crimes thus far this year as compared to 105 at this time last year.

There has been one reported rape and one reported murder thus far this year.

Johnsen said there has been one reported shooting thus far this year and gun arrests are up. There have been eight gun arrests this year as compared to three last year, he said.

"Our arrests are up in the major crime categories, but one crime is one crime too many, so that's why we don't want to dwell on the stats," said Johnsen.

"We're making arrests this year, but the stats are going up with the arrests.

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