Crime in the 90th Precinct is down 21 percent this year, leaving Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper and his officers to focus on the little things.
Compared to last year at this time, robberies are down 37 percent, assaults are down nine percent, grand larcenies are down 32 percent, and auto theft is down 21 percent. Burglaries, however are up nine percent, the only major crime category to see an increase.
Overall, there have been fewer crime complaints over the first six months of the year, with 591 recorded, compared with the same period last year, when 753 were issued.
“With the financial crisis and the economic turmoil of these times, you would think crime would be skyrocketing,” said Kemper. “For whatever reason, crime is down substantially, and it is down citywide.”
Over the past month, robberies are down 43 percent, grand larcenies are down 38 percent and auto theft is down 50 percent, compared with 2008 numbers. However, felony assaults saw an increase of 35 percent and burglaries were up 15 percent. Overall crime complaints from the last month are down 24 percent, from 118 this year to 156 in 2009.
At a 90th Precinct Community Council meeting last week, Deputy Inspector Kemper and several Community Affairs officers answered questions mainly about graffiti, noise complaints from bars and mobile food vendors, and police enforcement of infractions. Kemper cited the noise complaints against ice cream truck noise as an example of how the neighborhood has made substantial progress over the past decade.
“It’s something minor, but there’s time at these meetings now to bring these issues up,” said Kemper. “Years ago, we were talking about gunshots and now we’re talking about the ice cream noise.”
Kemper explained that noise issues, subway and building graffiti and street panhandling were related. This spring, he personally arrested a panhandler who had been harassing shoppers at a Williamsburg Walgreens. Now the individual has stopped asking for money at that location.