Murder rate skyrockets in 2008 • Brooklyn Paper

Murder rate skyrockets in 2008

A homicide victim is wheeled from crime scene as murders in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South jumped more than 35 percent in 2008.

Despite a decrease in overall felony crime, murders on the streets of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South jumped more than 35 percent in 2008, according to the unofficial year-end police statistics.

In the jurisdiction, which includes 13 precincts, there were 92 murders in 2008 as compared to 68 in 2007.

Data show the largest increases were in the relatively safe precincts.

For example, in the 62nd Precinct covering Bath Beach and Bensonhurst, there were six murders last year as compared to two in 2007.

In the 63rd Precinct covering Marine Park, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach and Flatlands, there were nine reported murders in 2008 as compared to three in 2007.

In the 78th Precinct covering Park Slope and Windsor Terrace, there were three reported murders last year as compared to one the year before.

“Although we obviously measure the homicide rate in numbers, we also recognize that every homicide represents a family that has been shattered and changed forever,” said Patrol Borough Brooklyn South Chief Joseph Fox.

Fox said that, of the 92 murders, more than half were committed by people known to the victim.

“Some cases are domestic or a dispute between parties, and some are drug-related,” said Fox, adding a higher number of the murders were committed using sharp-edged instruments than the previous year.

Fox said another thing to note is that the three commands — the 67th, 69th and 70th precincts — which traditionally account for about a third of the homicides in Brooklyn South, were about even or down for the year.

The 67th Precinct, covering East Flatbush, led the Brooklyn South command with 18 murders last year as compared to 17 in 2007. The 69th Precinct, covering Canarsie, was down three murders with six in 2008 as compared to nine in the previous year, and the 70th Precinct was even with seven murders in both 2007 and 2008. 

“At this time last year, we had one of the lowest years in homicides since we’ve been keeping these records, and looking back 15 years, we still have a 64 percent reduction,” said Fox.

“The way we got reductions year after year is making adjustments midstream in deployment literally day-to-day as we track the information, and we continue to do that, and also pay attention to the three commands (67th, 69th and 70th),” he said.

Fox said Brooklyn South will deploy special units including anti-crime, gang suppression and narcotics to adjust to trends in any one area of the command.

“We also always promote community participation in our crime reduction effort where we have 10 or 15 community affairs officers blanket an area, and one of the things they give out is cash for guns fliers where people who turn in guns are given $100 with no questions asked,” said Fox.

Other indicators associated with murder appeared varied in comparison between 2008 and 2007.

For example, there were 198 shooting incidents in 2008 as compared to 205 in 2007.

Gun arrests were down with 475 guns busts in 2008, 61 less than the 536 gun arrests in 2007.

Fox also pointed out that overall felony crime in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South is down 2.64 percent for the year including having 510 fewer victims this year as compared to last year.

This CompStat process in tracking crime makes the NYPD more vigilant every day, he said.

The felony crimes categories tracked on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and historical basis include murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft.

– With Tom Tracy

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