2007-06-22 / Community

101 Pct. Sees Sharpest Rise In Queens Crime

Beep Meets With Borough Commander, Pols
By Miriam Rosenberg

After several years of recording downturns in its crime statistics, the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway seems to be on the up elevator, showing the highest overall hike in crime in Queens for the past year. The local precinct is second only to the 84 Precinct in Brooklyn, which is facing the highest rise in crime of any precinct in the city.

According to the police department's CompStat statistics, which track seven major "index" crimes determined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the precinct had an 8.11 percent jump in crime from January 1 to June 17 of this year, when compared to the same period last year. Crime is also up 8.11 percent from the same time two years ago.

Captain Brian McMahon, the commander of the 101 Precinct, told The Wave that property crime was driving up the numbers at his precinct.

"One of the index crimes that's really up a lot - [24 percent] more index crimes in grand larceny," said McMahon, at Wednesday's Precinct Community Council meeting. "What we're seeing is a big increase in people putting a purse down and someone stealing their purse or they forget their purse; someone opens a cell phone account or credit card account in their name. That's grand larceny."

There have been 73 reported grand larcenies this year at the 101 Precinct, as opposed to 49 last year.

Dan Andrews, a representative for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, told The Wave in an e-mail that during a meeting on Tuesday, Queens Borough South commander, Chief Thomas Dale asked for Marshall's help to get the word out to Rockaway residents about these types of crimes.

According to Andrews, Dale told Marshall "the increasing population in Rockaway is driving up identity theft since more affluent residents are moving into new housing."

Dale asked that we remind everyone to use caution and stay alert when using ATMs and credit cards and to 'invest in a shredder.'"

McMahon also said that violent crime in the precinct has decreased.

"Our assaults are falling. The robberies are falling," McMahon continued.

In terms of the actual numbers, felonious assaults are up from 70 to 73 this year, robberies are down from 65 to 58, rape has decreased from 12 to 10 and the number of murders stands the same as last year - two.

Also, grand larceny auto is down from 32 to 24 and burglary is up from 29 to 40 this year.

As of June 17, the 101 Precinct had 280 reported crimes compared with 259 from the same time last year.

Citywide, there has been a 7.61 percent drop in crime.

There is also a vast difference in the crime statistics between the two Rockaway precincts.

The 100 Precinct, in Rockaway Park, which has a 4.96 percent rise in crime since the beginning of the year, has reported 148 crimes this year as opposed to 141 a year ago.

Borough President Marshall was incensed when the hike in crime in the 101 Precinct first came to light earlier this month.

"This dramatic increase is very disturbing," Marshall told a Daily News reporter. "There are a lot of wonderful things happening [out there]. We don't want it to be looked at as an area full of crime. We want to nip it in the bud."

Marshall met this week with Dale, Councilman James Sanders Jr. and Joanne Shapiro, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer's chief of staff.

Andrews said the borough president agreed to help inform homeowners, especially seniors, about getting Home Security Surveys done by the police, and to advise merchants to get Commercial Security Surveys done to increase their safety and security.

"The Police Department said it is already telling merchants that removing advertisements from windows would help, by allowing visibility into stores from the street," said Andrews.

Pheffer, who met with McMahon recently, spoke with The Wave on Wednesday.

"We think the captain has a good handle on things," said Pheffer, pointing out gun and homicide arrests.

Yet, Pheffer said Shapiro told Dale what is really needed is "a more permanent presence" with more police officers.

The new statistics are a major change from the numbers the precinct has posted the last few years.

In July 2005, this newspaper reported the precinct's overall crime rate had gone down by more than 19 percent over nearly two-year period.

In December 2004, The Wave reported that NYPD statistics through December 12 of that year showed the 101 Precinct had the greatest drop in crime - nearly 25 percent - out of all the precincts in the borough. At that time, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown singled out the precinct for leading the way in an 8.6 percent reduction in crime in the county.

CompStat numbers can be fluid. Two weeks ago, the 101 Precinct had the highest rise in crime of any precinct in the city with 8.5 percent then last week, the precinct's rise in crime decreased to 7.66 percent. Also, two weeks ago, the 100 Precinct had a decrease of 1.5 percent in crime.

CompStat statistics can also be deceiving.

McMahon said last year that not all crimes are considered as index crimes when determining the statistics. For example, crimes such as the bias attacks on Jewish youth in Bayswater last year were not included in the 2006 CompStat numbers because the FBI, which determines which crimes should be included in the index, accounts only for felonies.

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