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Locals worry about Kensington crime

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From tires getting slashed to burglaries to hate crimes, several residents complained about an uptick of crime and lack of police presence at the recent Community Board 12 meeting.

“The problem is a lack of a police patrol either on the street or by car,” said one 22-year resident of the neighborhood and a member of the Kensington Area Resident/Merchant Alliance (KARMA).

“When people see a squad car around they always remark about it because it’s a rarity,” she added.

The woman, who did not want her name used, noted that a recent published report found the 66th Precinct, which covers Kensington, Borough Park and a small part of Midwood, as the hardest precinct to get a hold of in the city.

“We were advised by Assemblymember James Brennan to call 311 rather than the precinct at a recent Albemarle Neighborhood Association meeting because he was aware of how hard it is for people to get through to the precinct,” she said.

Among the crimes KARMA has logged in the past couple of months was a recent robbery of a restaurant delivery man on a bike along Caton Avenue and cars broken into broken into on a side street between Church Avenue and Albemarle Road.

Additionally, residents said the tires of four cars were slashed in the vicinity of East 3rd Street and Church Avenue, and noted the recent incident of anti-Semitic graffiti on a day care center along Prospect Avenue.

KARMA activists also say there has been a huge increase of gang graffiti along Church Avenue.

According to the most recent police statistics, overall felony crime is down a little more than three percent for the year.

However, several crime categories are up slightly, including four reported murders for the year as compared to three at this time last year.

Also up slightly are felony assaults and burglary. There have been 285 reported burglaries so far in 2009 as compared to 279 at this time last year, and 112 reported felony assaults so far this year as compared to 109 at this time last year.

On the other hand, reported robbery is down nearly 16 percent with 129 incidents so far this year as compared to 153 at this time in 2009.

Grand larceny is down nearly five percent with 349 reported incidents so far in 2009 as compared to 367 at this time last year, and auto theft is about even with 114 incidents so far this year as compared to 113 at this time last year.

Police sources said since the CB 12 meeting there have been three people arrested in two separate instances near East 7th Street and Avenue I, and since those busts burglary numbers are starting to go down.

It appears to have been a pattern, police said.

Regarding the gang graffiti, police sources said the precinct has a unit that deals with both graffiti and gangs.

Police sources said like many precincts the manpower is down due to budget constraints, but they are doing more with less.

There are currently four or five squad cars on the streets during all shifts along with specialty units, some of which also have cars, police said.

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