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Crime down, murder on the rise

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Crime in northside Williamsburg and Greenpoint has dropped in nearly all major categories, except for homicide, continuing a decade-long trend.

Typically one of the safest precincts in the borough, the past year has had an increase in murders — three recorded in 2009, compared with only one in 2008. Overall crime complaints are down 6.5 percent over the past year and down 6.83 percent over a two-year period.

Over the past decade, crime has dropped 29.41 percent, with murders down 85.7 percent, from 7 in 1998 to 1 last year. Rapes are also down 81.2 percent, dropping from 16 in 1998 to 3 last year. Robberies decreased 38.5 percent, felony assaults dipped 43.8 percent, burglaries dropped 23.9 percent and auto theft decreased 65.6 percent since 1998. Only grand larcenies increased, up 81.5 percent from 1998.

From last year to this year, felony assaults are down 16 percent, robberies are down 14.2 percent, and auto thefts are down 13.6 percent. Burglaries and grand larcenies were consistent with 2008 numbers, with burglaries only slightly lower by 2.3 percent, and grand larceny down only 0.7 percent. That is, there were only two fewer auto thefts and five fewer burglaries this year compared with last year.

That does not mean that the past year was uneventful.

Residents witnessed a disruptive shooting incident at The Production Lounge (113 Franklin St.), a series of anti-Semitic and anti-gay stickers posted throughout the precinct, homeless drug addicted squatters terrorizing Bedford Avenue, and the closure of Studio B, which led to a near-endless list of grievances from nearby homeowners.

The recent invasion of nearly 2,000 Santas through the streets of Williamsburgmight have alarmed other precincts, but the 94th Precinct facilitated the festival smoothly. Officers noted that there will be a higher police presence on commercial streets such as Bedford and Manhattan avenues during the busy Christmas shopping season and during New Year’s Eve to keep residents safe and continue the downward trend in crime into the next year.

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