Volume 74, Number 41 | February 16 - 22, 2005

Crime drops in most precincts, but rises in Village

Scene of the crime
A memorial for Nicole duFresne — in upper right of photo — that appeared at Clinton and Rivington Sts. after her murder on Jan. 27. (Villager photo by Bob Arihood)

By Albert Amateau
The sharp decline in crime citywide over the past 11 years is continuing at a slower pace, according to New York Police Department reports comparing 2004 with the previous year. But there were spikes in grand larceny and robberies in precincts that cover the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, Soho and Chelsea.
Total crime was up 6.18 percent and robbery was up 5.7 percent in 2004 in the Sixth Precinct, covering the Village and Hudson Sq., traditionally low-crime areas. Robbery was a more serious problem in the Seventh Precinct, covering the Lower East Side south of Houston St. and east of Allen St., where it spiked to an 8.9 percent increase.
Grand larceny — including identity theft, pickpockets and bags left unattended — was up citywide, as well as in the Village’s Sixth Precinct and Chelsea/Clinton’s 10th Precinct, where they rose 8.6 percent and 17.2 percent, respectively, last year.
Murders increased from one to six in the 10th Precinct.
Burglaries saw an increase in the East Village’s Ninth Precinct.

Sixth Precinct

Total felony crimes reported in the Sixth Precinct increased 6.18 percent in 2004, compared to the previous year. During the two-year period from 2002 to 2004, total crimes increased 0.71 percent. Three murders were reported last year compared to none the previous year.
One of the homicides involved a homeless man who stabbed another in a Village subway station but a grand jury did not hand up an indictment after finding the act was self-defense. “We still have to list it as a homicide,” said Detective Mike Singer, a Sixth Precinct community affairs officer. Another homicide in August on W. 10th St. between Hudson and Greenwich Sts. sparked by an argument between a man and a group of transgender youth resulted in an arrest. The third victim was a Sheridan Sq. panhandler regular who died after being pushed to the pavement by an as-yet-unidentified suspect.
Rape declined to five from nine the previous year but robbery increased 5.7 percent. “We had a run of robberies in the beginning of the year [2004], then a decline and a spike in this autumn, but they’ve been down every week so far this year,” Singer said.
Felony assault declined 11.4 percent but burglary spiked, with 335 reported last year compared to 275 reported in 2003
“Sixty percent of all our felony crimes are grand larcenies,” said Singer. “And 74 percent of the grand larcenies are about unattended property — bags left on the backs of chairs, laptops left on desks,” he added.
Of the 2,114 felony crimes in all categories reported last year, 1,311 were grand larcenies, which rose 8.6 percent from the previous year. Auto theft, however, declined sharply by 26 percent.

Ninth Precinct

Crime in the Ninth Precinct, which includes the East Village between 14th and Houston Sts. east of Broadway, declined 4.19 percent last year from 2003. But murder increased to four from three the previous year and rape rose to 18 from 16. “Most of the rape in our precinct involves acquaintances or people living in the same household,” said Deputy Inspector James McCarthy.
Robbery was down 21 percent from 2003 and felony assault declined 12.7 percent. Burglary, however, rose 9.5 percent.
“We had a couple of guys who killed us on burglary in 2004 until we locked them up,” said McCarthy. “One guy admitted to 20 burglaries and another guy admitted to 10,” he said.
Grand larceny was down slightly — by 1.6 percent — and auto theft declined 12.5 percent in the Ninth Precinct.

Seventh Precinct

“Robbery is our main focus because it can lead to violence,” said Deputy Inspector Brian McCarthy, commander of the Seventh Precinct. “We monitor the crime closely and youth is a big factor. Most of our robbery arrests are people between the ages of 16 and 22,” McCarthy said.
The Seventh is the precinct where Nicole duFresne was shot to death on Jan. 27 in a robbery on the corner of Rivington and Clinton Sts. for which a 19-year-old man was charged with murder along with two girls, ages 14 and 18. Connected with that incident, two males, 15 and 18, were charged with attempted robbery before the murder.
But 45 percent of robberies in the Seventh are “strong-arm” incidents, committed without weapons, and they occur predominately in the 4 p.m.-to-midnight tour. Many are inside buildings in residential lobbies or stores, McCarthy said.
Arrests in the Seventh Precinct have also increased, rising from 1,354 in 2003 to 2,061 in 2004 in the six felony crime categories. “The arrests increased last year, too — it’s the highest rate in the city,” McCarthy said, adding, “The men and women here are doing a terrific job.”
Total crimes in the Seventh were down 2.78 percent last year from 2003. For the 11-year period from 1992, crimes were down 63.8 percent. Three murders were reported in 2004, compared to six the previous year. Seven rapes were reported, compared to 11 in 2003; felonious assaults were down 9 percent, and burglaries declined 20.9 percent. Grand larceny, however, rose 8.9 percent, but auto theft declined 9.6 percent in the Seventh Precinct.

Fifth Precinct

Total crime in the Fifth Precinct, which covers the Lower East Side between Broadway and Allen St. from Houston St. to Frankfort St. just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, declined 4.5 percent last year.
One murder was reported in the precinct compared to three in 2003 and five rapes were reported compared to six the pervious year. Robbery declined 12 percent. Felony assault was down 3.1 percent and burglary declined 19.2 percent. Grand larceny, however, increased 1.7 percent compared to the previous year. Auto theft declined 2.7 percent.

10th Precinct

In the 10th Precinct, covering Chelsea and part of Hell’s Kitchen, grand larcenies shot up 17.2 percent. An increase in identity theft and more thefts of bags left unattended in nightclubs, bars and restaurants accounted for much of the grand larceny increase, according to Captain Ray Caroli, 10th Precinct executive officer.
“If it weren’t for the increase in grand larcenies, we would have had a 10 percent reduction in total crimes instead of the 2.64 percent increase in 2004,” said Caroli. “Office creeps [thieves who prowl office buildings to steal unattended property] and people stealing bags — or wallets from bags — left unattended at clubs and restaurants are our main grand larceny concerns,” Caroli added.
However, six murders were reported in the precinct in 2004 compared to one the previous year. “All but one or two were closed out with arrests,” said Caroli. In October, a murder in front of the Elliott Chelsea Houses claimed the life of a resident and police arrested two suspects, also from Elliott Chelsea and charged them with homicide. The death of a man found in his apartment near Seventh Ave. and 23rd St. is still under investigation.
Rape reports in the 10th Precinct declined to 16 last year from 18 the previous year and robbery declined 14.9 percent. Felony assault, however, rose 7 percent last year, largely attributable to club incidents in the precinct. Assaults also rose in 2003 from the prior year. Burglaries in the precinct declined 13.2 percent and auto theft declined 22.3 percent.

First Precinct

Total crime in the First Precinct, which covers Lower Manhattan west of Broadway to Houston St. and east of Broadway to Frankfort St., declined 10.5 percent last year. There were two murders, the same number as the year before, and six rapes were reported in 2004 compared to 10 the previous year. Robbery declined 3.2 percent, while felony assault declined 6.9 percent. The largest decline last year was 37.4 percent in burglary. Grand larceny declined 5.6 percent. However, auto theft rose 2.5 percent.

13th Precinct

Total crime in the 13th Precinct, between Seventh Ave. and the East River from 14th to 23rd Sts., was down by a half percent last year from 2003, with three murders reported in 2004 compared to four the previous year. There were 17 reports of rape, the same as in 2003. Burglary declined 22.9 percent, auto theft declined 16 percent and robbery was down 1.6 percent. However, felony assault rose 20.6 percent and grand larceny rose 5.9 percent.

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