Crime remains higher in nabe

Crime continues to remain above 2009 levels in Canarsie.

Seven weeks into the new year, the 69th Precinct posted a 30.9 percent increase in the seven major crime categories, compared to the same time period a year earlier.

As of February 21st, there had been 133 felony crimes reported in the precinct, compared to 102 a year earlier.

Nonetheless, the increase is less steep than it had been earlier in the year. In the 28-day period that ended January 24th, which included the last few days of 2009, the precinct showed a 79.5 percent increase.

“We have a harder job to do this year, because last year we had the best year on record in reducing crime,” acknowledged Captain Milt Marmara during the February meeting of the 69th Precinct Community Council, telling members gathered at the Hebrew Educational Society, 9502 Seaview Avenue, “We are going to continue to do our best.

“Whatever crime happens, the key is to catch the person doing that burglary, that robbery,” he added. “Since I’ve been here, we are up dramatically in gun arrests, burglary arrests, robbery arrests.”

As of February 21st, only one of the seven major crime categories – grand larceny – showed a decrease, of 5.9 percent year to date. There have been 32 grand larcenies in the precinct since the year began, compared with 34 a year earlier.

Area residents can protect themselves from being a victim of grand larceny by taking certain precautions, Marmara said. As crimes such as identity theft fall into the category, it is important, he told his listeners, to shred papers you are putting out for recycling. In addition, he stressed, “Online security is very important.”

In addition, Marmara cautioned the group to be careful and aware of their surroundings when they leave the train station, “Especially women walking home on Avenue L, with their cell phone in their hand. That’s an easy opportunity for kids.”

The largest increase – 80 percent — was chalked up in robberies. There have been 27 so far this year, compared to 15 at this time last year. Recently, said Marmara, the precinct had made a number of arrests of robbery suspects.

The second largest increase – 48.1 percent — was in burglaries. There have been 40 so far in 2010, compared to 27 at this point last year.

Many of the burglaries have occurred in the western portion of the neighborhood, south of Avenue J, Marmara said. “That’s an area where you see a lot more police officers during the day,” he added.

The precinct has identified two different sorts of burglaries in the area. One involves youngsters who are playing hooky, said Marmara, who urged his listeners to look out for kids who are out and about during school hours. The other, he said, involves “organized groups.

“We’ve made a lot of burglary arrests this year, so we are catching them,” he went on, telling the group also to “keep an eye out for your neighbor.”

Marmara also told his listeners to be careful of their property. “An open door or a back window open” presents an “easy opportunity,” he stressed.

Incidents of grand larceny auto are also up. There have been 19 so far in 2010, compared to 14 last year at this time, for an increase of 35.7 percent.

Particularly targeted have been Chevrolets and Nissan Maximas from 1996 through 2004, Marmara said. The perpetrators, he noted, “are more of an organized theft ring,” who steal the cars by utilizing a key they’ve already made up that fits the ignition, then driving away.

Finally, felonious assaults are up 25 percent, with 15 year to date, compared to 12 at this time in 2009. Many of the assaults, Marmara said, are “domestic related.” In these circumstances, he added, the precinct keeps tabs on the family. “We go back to the household and do visits whenever there are domestic problems.”

Murder and rape are both flat. There have been no incidents of either crime this year in Canarsie, the same as a year earlier.

The precinct will continue to tackle quality-of-life issues, Marmara also said, noting that they were “important for Canarsie,” because of the neighborhood’s residential character.