Crime continues decline in 68th precinct

So far this year, New York City as a whole is down ever so slightly in crime.

But, in the 68th Precinct – which comprises Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton – the numbers continue to decline, with the precinct showing an 11.2 percent drop in the seven major crime categories for the first seven weeks of 2010.

The only crime category where there has been an increase, in the precinct, is felonious assault. With 11 so far in 2010, compared to nine at this time last year, assaults are up in the precinct 22.2 percent as of February 22nd.

Incidents of grand larceny auto, in contrast, are down 29.4 percent so far in 2010, with 24 this year, compared to 34 last year at this time. Also way down are burglaries: There have been 18 so far in 2010, compared to 22 at this time in 2009, for a decline of 18.2 percent.

Also down are robberies. There have been 15 so far this year, compared to 16 at this point in 2009, for a decrease of 6.2 percent. Grand larcenies have also decreased. There have been 43 so far this year, compared to 44 at this point last year, for a decline of 2.3 percent.

There have been no murders or rapes so far this year, the same as last year at this time.

In all, 111 felony crimes have been reported in the 68th Precinct year to date. Last year at this time, that number was 125.

Last year was the third year in a row in which the precinct registered, “A significant decrease in crime,” noted Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, the precinct’s commanding officer.

With numbers so low, he said he thought, “We are going to see a spike this year. Do we want to keep under 1,000 crimes? Absolutely.Right now, we are on a good track, but we are not expecting the percentage decrease of the past couple of years.”

With that in mind, Rodriguez told this paper, the precinct was “continuing our proactive police work. We are going to be targeting quality-of-life issues. We are going to be very proactive in the streets.

“Violence is something we are looking at very hard this year,” he added.

In particular, Rodriguez said, the precinct was preparing to combat crime as the weather warms up and it stays light out later. “We will be adjusting to the pattern of more people coming out,” he remarked.

To keep track with 2009, the precinct is going to have to work hard to beat the number of arrests made, Rodriguez acknowledged. “Last year was a phenomenal year in arrests,” he noted, with approximately a 30 percent increase. “Right now, we are up 24 percent from last year.”

The precinct is also reaching out, asking residents to help the police by taking commonsense precautions, Rodriguez said. In particular, he warned the community to be careful of their possession, urging them not to leave valuables in their cars where they are easy pickings for casual thieves. “We are finding people are leaving their pocketbooks in their cars,” he noted.

The precinct is also warning teens and adolescents to be careful with small electronic devices, such as cell phones and MP3 players. There have been a couple of “kid-on-kid robberies,” he said, “so we do educate the kids, and we are asking people to be careful.”

In addition, Rodriguez reminded residents not to leave their cars unattended with the keys in them, even for a short period of time. A couple of cars have been stolen because of such scenarios, he said.