2010-03-12 / Top Stories

Property Crime Up Throughout Peninsula

By Howard Schwach

The horrendous economic climate and the high unemployment rate in Rockaway has led some to look to crime to keep themselves and their families afloat, experts say.

According to CompStat statistics provided by the New York City Police Department, property crimes – robbery, burglary and grand larceny are way up for the year ending February 28 in relation to last year’s statistics. Rockaway has the greatest increase in property crime in the city.

In the 100 Precinct, which covers Beach 57 Street west to Breezy Point, robbery incidents increased from 3 at this point last year to 14 so far in 2010, an increase of 366.7 percent. Burglary incidents have risen to 11 from 4 (175 percent) and grand larceny incidents have increased to 14 from 8 last year (75 percent).

In the 101 Precinct, which covers Beach 57 Street east to the Nassau County line, robbery incidents are up to 24 from last year’s 17 (a 41.2 percent rise), burglaries are up to 21 from 15 in 2009 (40 percent) and grand larceny incidents are down to 12 from 15 last year (a reduction of 20 percent).

A local source, who asked not to be identified because she has no permission to speak with the press, said that the rise in property crimes can be directly attributed to the economic crisis.

“Although it is not right to take other people’s property, it’s understandable that sometimes people will do anything they have to in order to keep food on the family table,” said the source, a social worker who works extensively with unemployed and poor local residents. “If you have nothing to eat and your kids are hungry, you can justify taking something from those who appear to have more than they need.”

Despite the recent rise in crime, police officials say that the incidence of index crimes, including the property crimes listed in the CompStat index, is down overall during the past several years.

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