Menos de 550 homicidios hubo en Nueva York en 2005

By ELIZABETH SOLOMONT, Special to the Sun
This year, New York City likely will report its lowest rate of homicides in more than four decades, according to recently released police data. Fulfilling police and law enforcement predictions over the past few months, the year-end crime statistics are on track to reflect the lowest homicide rate in the city since 1963, when 549 homicides were reported.
According to police data, the city’s total crime rate declined in nearly every category, with 528 murders reported through December 25, down 5.5% from 559 reported during the same time period last year. The crime indexes that reflected the largest drops were burglary, with 23,395 reported cases, down 11.4% from 26,423 this time last year, and grand larceny auto, which had 17,586 incidents this year, an 11.8% drop from 19,955 reported this time last year, according to police data.
Robbery was the only crime category that rose, with a 0.8% increase to 23,948 from 23,786 this time last year, police data indicated.
Police Inspector Michael Coan yesterday said several factors contributed to the low statistical reports. «Crime has decreased over 5% this year, and 18% the last four years. This reflects the outstanding efforts of the men and women of the NYPD,» he said.
Specifically, Inspector Coan credited several police initiatives, including Operation Impact, which infuses high crime police precincts with additional officers, and Operation Trident, which dispatches extra officers to three neighborhoods with high crime rates.
In East New York’s 75th Precinct, which reported some 100 annual homicides during the 1990s, the 3,391 total crimes reported this year to date reflect a 12.29% decrease from 3,866 crimes reported this time last year. The precint ranks sixth in crime reduction out of 76 police commands in the city, Inspector Coan said. Through December 25, there were 29 reported homicides, the same number reported this time last year, just before the precinct implemented Operation Trident.
Yesterday, the president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, Thomas Repetto, said the city’s low crime rates could be attributed to police officials who have focused resources in the most desperate areas, and have «probably done the best job of any Police Department in the United States in reducing crime and keeping it down.»
Still, some police precincts that historically report high murder rates reported an increase in homicides, in contrast to the citywide trend.
In Bedford-Stuyvesant’s 79th police precinct, where three people were killed within 48 hours last week, police reported 24 homicides through December 25, up 50% from 16 homicides reported this time last year. In the Bronx’s 46th police precinct, police data reported that 22 murders occurred, up from 18 this time last year.
Police did not explain yesterday what caused those spikes, but Inspector Coan said that the overall crime rates in those precincts were down. In Bedford-Stuyvesant’s 79th Precinct, «overall crime is down 3% this year and 16% in the last four years,» he said. Homicides in the Bronx’s 46th Precinct «are down more than 65% in the last 12 years, despite an increase in the last two years,» he said.
But City Council Member Letitia James, of the Working Families Party in Brooklyn, who represents part of Bedford-Stuyvesant, said police should expand Operation Impact into more police precincts in Central Brooklyn. «It doesn’t surprise me that overall crime is down,» she said. «However, there are still pockets where too many violent crimes are occurring.»

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