A quarter of the way into 2008, the streets of the 63rd Precinct are slightly safer than they were at this point in 2007, cops announced at this month's Precinct Community Council meeting.
Overall, crime is down 2.5 percent from its levels of May 2007. This year, there have been 495 “major index” crimes, which are taken into account when calculating a city’s crime rate. Last year at this time, there had been 507 crimes.
Much of the overall drop in crime comes from the decrease in auto thefts: This year, there have been 58 auto thefts, down from 76 at this time last year, good for a decrease of 24 percent.
To combat auto thefts this year, officers have focused on three sectors of the precinct: the area near Flatlands Avenue from Avenue I to Avenue M, east of Schenectady Avenue; the area between 34th Street and 49th Street between Avenue K and the Long Island Railroad tracks; and the Kings Plaza Shopping Center.
The precinct’s efforts have been helped by ten additional cops it received from the Police Academy this year. In addition, the Brooklyn South Precinct has kicked in some officers to help with auto thefts.
The downward trend in auto thefts is continues a two-year trend in the category, during which time they have gone down 29 percent.
In addition to auto thefts, robberies are also down across the precinct. There have been 64 this year compared to 70 at this time last year, an 8.5 percent decrease.
There has been one murder in the precinct this year, compared to three at this time last year.
Other than that, crime is actually up in almost every other category, but by much smaller amounts.
Burglaries are up 4.7 percent, having increased from 85 last year to 89 this year.
There has been one more felonious assault this year than there was at this time last year.
Grand larcenies, especially those in the Kings Plaza area, have been a pesky problem for the precinct. There have been 243 this year, compared to 234 at this time last year, an increase of 3.8 percent.
Precinct officers say that identity theft resulting from stolen credit cards are a big contributor to the problem at Kings Plaza.
Officers say that they rely on contributions from credit card companies and the stores to help address this problem.
“Personally, I think the stores can be doing a little better,” said Crime Analysis officer Michelle Clemenza.
“Of course they’re trying, but the thieves are getting more clever.”