Queens District Attorney Richard Brown touted the successes of his office this year during Community Board 13’s monthly meeting Monday night, where he also installed the board’s new officers.
Brown said his office handled 72,000 arrest cases last year and is on pace to handle 78,000 this year. He said those figures were up 17 percent since he became district attorney in 1991.
“We’re kept very, very busy,” he said at St. Luke Cathedral in Laurelton.
Of the 295 assistant district attorneys in his office, 54 percent are women. Brown said he remembered when his law school graduating class of 150 only had three women.
The DA also has a Police Department squad with 50 detectives in the office along with seven state troopers.
When he first took office, Brown said there were 361 homicides in the borough. In 2008, there were 100. So far this year that figure is down 19 percent, he said.
Brown said his office has made great strides over the number of cars stolen in Queens.
In 1991, there were 52,000 cases of stolen cars. Last year there were only 3,000, he said.
Brown also said violent crime is down 80 percent in the borough over the last decade.
The DA said his office has the best arrest-to-arraignment time in the city and also the lowest felony complaints in the five boroughs.
Of the cases the DA prosecutes, 91.2 percent result in convictions.
CB 13 Chairman Bryan Block asked Brown about the proliferation of guns within CB 13’s borders, which stretches from Glen Oaks along the Nassau border down to Rosedale.
“Guns are just prevalent,” Block said. “The guns are just decimating our communities.”
Block said he was also concerned about gangs operating at Campus Magnet High School in Cambria Heights.
Brown said the problem stems from the so-called iron pipeline along Interstate 95.
“You can buy and pick up guns in many states down South,” the DA said. “The next thing you know, they’re sold on the streets over here.”
“Unless we can close that pipeline ... the ability of individuals to buy guns ... we don’t have this kind of a problem,” he said.
Brown said his office was also talking to state Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) and the principals of the four schools that comprise Campus Magnet about solving the gang problem. He said representatives from the Queens gang and narcotics units are also involved.
Laurelton resident Bill Perkins asked the DA how the arrest rate can be up while crime is down.
Brown clarified this by saying arrests are up on quality-of-life crimes while violent crimes are decreasing.
The DA also installed the board’s new officers at the meeting: Block, First Vice Chairwoman Tanya Cruz, Second Vice Chairwoman Angela Augugliaro, Executive Secretary Sanu Thomas and Treasurer Anup Ramnauth.
There were no voting items during the meeting.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2009 Community News Group
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