Crime in Canarsie heading upwards at start of year

Crime in Canarsie may have hit a historic low in 2009, but, so far, in 2010, it appears to be going in the opposite direction.

In the 28-day period ending January 24, which includes the last few days of 2009, there were increases in five of the seven major crime categories in the 69th Precinct, compared to the same time period, a year earlier, with a total of 88 crimes committed during the four weeks in question, compared to 49 in the same four weeks, last year, for an increase of 79.5 percent.

Captain Milt Marmara, the precinct’s commanding officer, went over the statistics during the January meeting of the 69th Precinct Community Council, which was held at the Hebrew Educational Society, 9502 Seaview Avenue.

Last year’s numbers, he cautioned, were “astronomically low.”

In particular, incidences of Grand Larceny Auto were up 300 percent compared to 2009, with 20 in the 28-day period, compared to five in the same time period, last year.

Felonious assaults were also way up, with 12 in the 28-day period beginning 2010, compared to five in the same period, last year, for an increase of 140 percent.

Also up over 100 percent were robberies. There were 16 in the 28-day period, as opposed to seven in the same period in 2009, for an increase of 128.6 percent.

Burglaries also showed an increase of 52.9 percent, with 26 in the 28-day period, compared to 17 in the same period in 2009.

Finally, there were two rapes in the 28-day period, compared to none in the same time frame in 2009.

Two categories showed decreases. Murders were down 100 percent, with none reported in the 28-day period in 2010, compared to one in 2009. Grand larcenies were also down, 14.3 percent, with 12 in the 28-day period in question, compared to 14 in the same time period, last year.

A number of the robberies occurred during “the early morning hours,” Marmara told his listeners, with some of the victims being individuals “on the way to the bus at Flatlands and Ralph.”

The good news here is that “At least two individuals involved in that string of robberies have been arrested,” Marmara reported, though the police, he said are still searching for other suspects in the incidents. “But, that string of robberies has subsided.”

There have also been some robberies near I.S. 68, and “isolated robberies” along Flatlands Avenue, Avenue L and Avenue M, Marmara said.

As for the increase in the number of assaults, Marmara said that the precinct has seen “A little increase in domestic violence this year.” This is something that the police keep tabs on, he added. “When we see violence in homes, we do follow-ups,” he told the group, “we do home visits, to see that it’s not happening again.”

There have been some burglaries in the southwestern portion of the precinct, Marmara said, specifically near Seaview Avenue, Avenue L and Avenue M, in the East 80s, where, he told his listeners, the precinct has deployed additional resources. These, he went on, tend to occur during working hours, with perpetrators taking advantage of “open windows or no alarm system,” or breaking in through a back door.

Area residents should be alert for “suspicious activity,” Marmara added, telling the group that if they notice people dressed in all black, wearing black hoodies, that could be an indication of someone who is hoping to avoid being recognized on a video surveillance camera.

With respect to GLAs, Marmara said that the precinct was “Beginning to see a little bit of organized theft of vehicles at night.” The thefts amount to about “one every other day, not a lot but it’s something for us to be guided by when we do police work.”

While the precinct is getting resources from Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, “to keep crime at historic lows,” the precinct doesn’t expect to get any new officers from the most recent Police Academy class, Marmara said in answer to a question from Michael Benjamin, who attended the meeting on behalf of State Senator John Sampson. Marmara said that he believes that the recent graduates will be sent to designated impact zones.

“We could use a little impact,” Benjamin rejoined. “The statistics are at a historic low, but they are historically three or four times higher than last year’s historic low.”

While the precinct isn’t getting any impact officers, Marmara replied, it is, “Getting impact overtime,” with officers doing extra shifts. “So they are out there twice as much,” he told Benjamin. In addition, Marmara said, “We are seeing a lot of foot posts, cops shifted here from other areas.”