2007-01-12 / Community

DA: Queens Crime Stats Down For 2006

The crime rate went down in Queens in 2006, including the critical homicide rate, the district attorney said last week.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that, according to preliminary statistics compiled by the New York City Police Department, the crime downturn includes a 10.6 percent drop in homicides, from 94 in 2005 to 84 last year - the lowest since 1967. Queens County is the only borough to note a decrease in homicides last year.

Brown added, "Auto theft has long been a benchmark in measuring our effectiveness in combating crime. In 1991, when I first took office, there were some 52,000 cars stolen in Queens County. Last year we were at less than 5,000 - a decrease of over 90 percent!" District Attorney Brown continued, "Queens County has witnessed a tremendous overall drop in serious crime for more than a decade. The reduction in the level of violence in the county has been so significant - a drop of 74 percent since 1993 - that some have questioned whether it could be maintained. The 2006 figures - showing that the levels have remained near or below their historic lows - offer clear and compelling evidence that our law enforcement initiatives continue to have a profound impact in making Queens County one of the safest counties in the nation."

The District Attorney added that while serious crime continued to drop dramatically across the County the total number of prosecutions - which includes non-violent and quality of life offenses - increased in 2006.

"For the first time in Queens County history, criminal prosecutions last year exceeded the 70,000 mark," Brown said. "In addition, Queens continues to lead the City in the quality of its prosecutions. For example, while felony arrests in Queens County made up 18.5 percent of the citywide total, Queens was responsible for 21.9 percent of the City's felony convictions. This disproportionate arrest and conviction pattern was even more noticeable when compared to violent felony arrests. For such cases, while Queens County handled a fifth of all citywide arrests, it was responsible for nearly a quarter of the City's convictions and prison sentences."

District Attorney Brown additionally noted that his office's felony conviction rate remains the best citywide - 94.6 percent - and that its dismissal rate of felony complaints and indictments was the lowest. "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 our airports, gun trafficking, credit card fraud, identity theft, money laundering and all sorts of other types of criminal activity," he said.

According to NYPD statistics, there were 84 homicides last year in Queens County. This is the lowest number of murders in the borough since 1967 during which the county also recorded 84 violent deaths. The 108 Precinct in Long Island City recorded the greatest decrease among the 16 police precincts in Queens County with a drop of 71 percent, followed by the 106 Precinct in Ozone Park with a drop of 63 percent and the 113 Precinct in South Jamaica with a drop of 54 percent.

Violent crimes such as rape, robbery and felony assault also declined in Queens during 2006, dropping 2.5 percent over the previous year. Overall, the major crime categories have seen a reduction of 26 percent over the past five years and 74 percent since 1993.

Among those initiatives Brown said are responsible for the drop in crime are the Queens Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (DTAP) and the Queens Treatment Court (QTC), which both carefully select non-violent drug addicted defendants into community based residential and out-patient treatment programs as an alternative to incarceration. Defendants selected into DTAP are required to plead guilty with the condition that they enter and successfully complete a rigorous long-term - 15-24 months - residential treatment program.

Since 1993, Queens County has among the highest, if not the highest retention and successful completion rates in New York State of defendants who complete DTAP, 75% and 70 % respectively. QTC selects first time non-violent drug addicted felony offenders for the opportunity to defeat addiction, by participating in a highly structured court part, with dedicated court staff and a philosophy which incorporates systems of graduated sanctions and rewards. To date, Queens Treatment Court has placed over 1,300 defendants with a retention rate of 75% and a successful completion rate of 71% - rates among the best in the country.

District Attorney Brown said, "I am optimistic that by continuing the very successful strategies that we have employed in recent years we can make Queens County even safer in 2007."

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