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Guns on the streets - Neighborhood suffers seven shootings in ’08

There have been seven shootings so far this year in Canarsie.

“This year, we started out pretty bad,” acknowledged Deputy Inspector Ralph Monteforte, the commanding officer of the 69th Precinct, during the April meeting of the precinct’s community council.

Nonetheless, while the precinct does not appear to be “on pace” to maintain last year’s low of 17 shootings, neither is it on track to mirror the 37 shootings of 2006, Monteforte told the group gathered at the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club, 77 Conklin Avenue, for the monthly meeting. The reduction from 2006 to 2007, noted Monteforte, was “a great job.”

The shootings that have occurred so far in 2008 “are spread throughout the command,” Monteforte said. “There are two in Breukelen Houses, a couple in the Paerdegats, a couple in the southern part of the precinct.

“There are plenty of guns on the street,” he stressed, though, he added, the precinct is trying to diminish that number.

“That’s why I give credit to the officers for taking these guns off the street. So far, this year, we have taken 45 guns off the street,” he said. That is ahead of last year, when about 65 guns were taken off the street, said Monteforte. About 60 guns were recovered by the precinct in 2006, as well, he said.

All of those guns, Monteforte added, were recovered, “Without any of us firing one shot, and nobody firing at us” – a key statistic, he emphasized.

“That’s an incredible job. It’s not that easy to take a gun off a person without getting into a shooting. The officers have to go home at night. We want everyone to go home at night,” Monteforte added. “But if there’s a shooting in the street, anyone could get hurt. It could be an innocent bystander.”

Year to date, through April 27th, the precinct was down overall 2.96 percent in the seven major crime categories. This includes a 75 percent decrease in murders, from four at this point in 2007 to one, so far, in 2008. There’s also been a 50 percent decline in rape, from eight at this point in 2007 to four so far in 2008.

Grand larcenies are also down, 16.8 percent, with 104 so far in 2008 compared with 125 at this point in 2007. There has also been a reduction in felonious assaults, with 42 so far in 2008, compared to 46 in 2007, for a decrease of 8.7 percent. Grand larceny auto is also down, 5.2 percent, with 54 so far this year, compared with 57 at this time last year.

There have been increases in two crime categories within the 69th Precinct. These are robbery, which is up 28.8 percent, with 76 so far this year compared with 59 at this point last year, and burglary, which is up 20.5 percent, with 47 so far in 2008, compared with 39 at this point in 2007.

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