Fear in North Brooklyn as rapes triple

Fear in North Brooklyn as rapes triple
Photo provided by NYPD

The number of rapes reported to police in Williamsburg and Greenpoint skyrocketed last year — and North Brooklyn residents fear recent attacks against women are a sign the terrifying trend is continuing into 2012.

Rapes nearly tripled in 2011 in Williamsburg’s 90th Precinct, where perps committed 23 rapes compared to eight the previous year, and in Greenpoint’s 94th Precinct, where attackers committed three rapes compared to one the year before.

This year got off to a foreboding start when an assailant grabbed a woman on Maspeth Avenue at 4 am on New Year’s Day, pulled her into a parking garage, and raped her, police said.

The next day, a man dragged a woman between two cars on Withers Street and beat her with a stick, causing four stitches, according to a witness.

The Withers Street attack wasn’t a rape, but it left neighbors frightened — leading cops from both precincts to call a meeting last week to discuss the crimes.

“We don’t want to keep these things hidden, because people need to protect themselves,” said 90th Precinct Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper.

Kemper tried to calm the crowd at the meeting at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Havemeyer Street on Wednesday night, insisting his cops keep close watch over the neighborhood at all hours.

“We have officers monitoring the bars out at 4 am,” said Kemper, who urged locals to call the cops if they notice anything amiss. “We’re out there in uniform and we’re out there in plain clothes.”

But North Brooklyn residents, like Community Board 1 member Tish Cianciotta, remain worried.

“We are concerned about the woman sexually attacked on Maspeth and Kingsland,” said Cianciotta. “That’s not too far away from us. Luckily someone was there to help here but we’re still concerned.”

Cops in North Brooklyn made several high-profile rape arrests in 2011 and early this year, most recently nabbing taxi cab driver Gurmeet Singh, who allegedly picked up a 26-year-old woman on May 6 and raped at knife point inside his vehicle.

Police sources say the victim knew the perpetrator before the attack in more than two-thirds of cases in Williamsburg and all of the cases in Greenpoint — making it even harder for officers to prevent.

“Unfortunately there isn’t much that we can do to stop these types of crimes,” a Greenpoint cop told The Brooklyn Paper.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.