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DA Brown credits staff, police for crime drop

The year ended with the lowest number of homicides in more than 40 years with 68 reported murders, which was down from 84 in 2006, according to DA Richard Brown. The DA credited the hard work of the Queens NYPD officers and his office's stricter approach to keeping criminals off the streets as it processed more than 74,000 arrest cases last year."Despite a 15 percent spike in the county's population during the intervening years, we have actually witnessed the number of violent deaths plummet by 80 percent since 1992," Brown said in a statement. "Moreover in terms of the city's boroughs...Queens remains the safest county with a per capita murder rate of three per 100,000 people - well below the city's per capita rate of 5.62."Murder was not the only crime category that recorded a decrease. Rape was down in the borough by 15.9 percent and robbery was down 11.1 percent, according to the DA.One category where crime dropped substantially was auto theft with the number of reported incidents less than 4,000, a 19 percent decline from 2006 and a 92 percent drop from 1991, the year that Brown was first elected to be DA."Back then if you had lined up all the vehicles stolen that year in Queens, some 52,000, they would have stretched from the Queens Midtown Tunnel out to Montauk. This year the line of stolen vehicles...would barely stretch from the Midtown Tunnel to the courthouse here in Kew Gardens," he said.Brown noted that his office worked hard over the year to efficiently prosecute offenders. The office had the highest number of cases arraigned within 24 hours , handled 20 percent of the city's violent felony prosecutions and in turn was responsible for 27 percent of the city's violent convictions, according to the DA."Despite budget cuts, our prosecutors are continuing to make major cases against drug traffickers, organized crime mobsters and criminals involved in auto theft, auto insurance fraud, crime at the airports, gun trafficking, credit card fraud, identity theft, money laundering and all sorts of other types of criminal activity," he said."I am optimistic that by continuing the very successful strategies that we have employed in recent years, we together with our law enforcement colleagues, can make Queens County even safer in 2008."Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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