Crime fall: 2009 banner year for robbery reduction

Muggers avoided Brooklyn like the plague in 2009.

Year-end statistics show that 1,650 fewer people were robbed on borough streets in 2009 when compared to 2008.

In southern Brooklyn, 2898 residents reported being robbed in 2009 — 819 less than in 2008. Up north, 3,267 people were robbed — 831 less than the year before, statistics show.

But robberies was just one part of the borough’s healthy outlook when it comes to crime reduction.

“It’s been a great year for everybody in Brooklyn,” remarked Chief Joseph Fox, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South. “This is a testament to both the cops and the community at large. We never envisioned a year ago that we would be down by so much.”

Fox said that the robbery numbers could be used as a barometer when it comes to overall crime reductions.

“The crime of robbery is always one of our main concerns,” he said. “In 2009, we had 800 less. But we don’t look at this as pure numbers. There is a person behind every one of these reductions.”

Overall, Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, which looks over precincts stretching from Canarsie to Carroll Gardens, saw a 12.5 percent reduction in crime. Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, which maintains order in the rest of the borough, saw a 10 percent drop in felony crime.

While all local precincts saw crime reductions, the precinct with the lowest crime in the borough wasn’t in tony downtown Brooklyn.

Rather, it was in blue collar Sheepshead Bay, where the 61st Precinct celebrated a 26 percent reduction in felony crime. The Coney Island Avenue precinct saw a 36 percent drop in robberies and a 30 percent drop in car thefts. Burglaries in the command, which encompasses Homecrest, Manhattan Beach and parts of Midwood as well, fell by 25 percent, as of December 27.

“Nothing good can come from this,” joked one high ranking officer from the 61st Precinct, who remarked that the cops would have to work even harder to match or better their success in 2009.

The 68th Precinct in Bay Ridge followed Sheepshead Bay with a nearly 22 percent reduction.

In downtown Brooklyn, the 84th Precinct had the largest crime decrease with an 18 percent reduction. They were followed by the 90th Precinct in Williamsburg, which saw an 11.5 percent drop in felonies.

“It was a tremendous year,” said Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper, who celebrated his first year with the command. “The cops that work here did a great job and the relationship the community and the 90th precinct has is excellent.”

“This is a complex precinct to police, but the cops here find a way to do it and they do it exceptionally,” he said.

Looking ahead at 2010, Kemper said that he and his officers will be building on what made 2009 a success.

“Police work is fluid,” he said. “We’ll be tweaking as we go.”

“We had an unbelievable run,” said Kemper when reflecting on the nearly 65 percent reduction Williamsburg has had since 1993. “Our technology is better, our strategies are better and community relations with the NYPD has done a 180 over the last 16 years.”

“I truly believe that the more the community works with the police, good things will happen,” he said.

Rounding out downtown Brooklyn was the 78th Precinct, which saw a nearly 11 percent in crime reduction and the 76th Precinct, which saw a seven percent fall.

Despite the crime drops, Brooklyn led the city in homicides in 2009, making up for nearly half of the murders that took place in the five boroughs.