‘Tidal Crime Wave’ Less Than It Seems
The 100 Precinct, caught up in a tidal wave of statistics, was dubbed by the media this week as being “rocked by crime,” and as “the highest crime precinct in the city.”
While the statistics provided by the police department’s website do show that the west end of Rockaway has the highest percentage crime climb in the city, the same statistics show that it is far from being rocked by crime or the highest crime precinct in the city.
It’s all in the numbers, as The Wave has found by closely checking the numbers for the year ending December 18, the latest sta- tistics available at press time. The New York Post, which ran a page 2 story trumpeting “Tidal Crime Wave Hits Rockaway,” on Monday, says that crime in the 100 Precinct has gone up overall by 51.8 percent, led by a rise of 144.4 percent in burglaries. That is true, but whether or not that means the precinct serves the highest crime area in the city is another story.
At the same time, the Post says that the precinct with the greatest decrease in crime is Manhattan’s 20 Precinct, which covers the west side of that borough, which saw a 12.8 percent drop.
To prepare that story, The Post sent several reporters to the west end of Rockaway to speak with locals, some of whom told a Wave reporter that they laughed when the reporter asked for a comment on the story. Some, however, reacted with fear and anger, one person saying that he was afraid to go down to his basement. Another said that he had been robbed and was, for the first time in years, locking his doors.
Another longtime Rockaway resident, however, took the news lightly, arguing that the statistics did not match the reality of living in Rockaway.
During the summer, when the burglary pattern was at its peak, one purveyor of alarm systems put a flyer with the crime stats and an ad for his service in Belle Harbor Foods on Beach 129 Street.
Most of the locals who saw it took it for what it was – an advertising piece designed to get some customers. Because of that flyer, the popular food store became a prime target of the Post reporters.
One of the owners told The Wave that she was taken aback by the reporter, but told him, “We don’t want to scare anybody, just let them know what’s going on in the community.”
On Monday morning, those coming into the store were pointed to the story. Most who looked at it scoffed, saying, in many different ways, “That’s the Post.”
The Post story was quickly picked up by other media outlets, including Channel 2 news, WCBS radio and WINS.
Those statistics are glaring, until you look not at the percentages, but at the raw numbers that make up those percentages.
For its examination, The Wave picked four precincts at random, one in each of the boroughs, to compare with the 100 Precinct.
They are the 20 Precinct in Manhattan (the precinct with the greatest percentage drop in crime in 2011), the 47 Precinct in the Bronx, the 75 Precinct in Brooklyn (The Wave wanted to use Coney Island, but for some reason, that precinct’s statistics were not available) and the 122 Precinct in Staten Island.
Those raw numbers show that even given the rise in crime in Rockaway, the community has far fewer index crimes than the other precincts studied.