By Courtney Dentch
Murders plummeted by 11 percent citywide for 2002, but homicides in Queens bucked the trend and rose over levels recorded in 2001, police statistics showed.
New York City had 575 killings in 2002, down from 2001’s figure of 646, but Patrol Borough Queens South had 60 murders, up 9 percent from 55 the previous year. In Patrol Borough Queen North there were 33 killings in 2002, a 3 percent increase from the 32 homicides in 2001, according to the statistics.
Patrol Borough South covers the 100th, 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 105th, 106th, 107th and 113th precincts. Patrol Borough North includes the 104th, 108th, 109th, 110th, 111th, 112th, 114th and 115th precincts.
Despite the rise in murders, overall crime continued to fall in Queens, following the citywide trend that earned New York the title of safest large city in America for the first half of 2002 in an FBI report released in December.
Crime in New York City fell 6 percent in 2002 from the prior year, according to police statistics. In Queens South, crime declined 12 percent from 2001, while Queens North saw just a 1 percent drop.
Reports of rape, which had risen 5 percent across the city last year, increased by 5 percent from 192 in 2001 to 202 cases in 2002 in Queens South. But rapes fell by the same percentage from 160 in 2001 to 152 last year in Queens North.
In order to battle crime increases in various precincts across the borough, the NYPD stepped up patrols last week aimed at preventing crime, a Police Department spokesman said.
The 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill, one of the areas targeted for the new patrols, had twice as many murders in 2002 as the previous 12 months, with the number jumping from two to four homicides. Rapes rose by a third, from 21 reported in 2001 to 28 in 2002, according to the police statistics.
The NYPD has also boosted patrols in downtown Jamaica, where the 103rd Precinct had 30 percent hikes in both murders and rapes. Homicides jumped from 10 cases in 2001 to 13 cases in 2002, while reported rapes rose from 27 in 2001 to 35 last year, according to police statistics.
The 109th Precinct in downtown Flushing also got more patrols to help battle an increase in murder, burglary and grand larceny, the spokesman said. Homicides were up 20 percent to six from five in 2001, while burglary went up 13 percent, from 954 in 2001 to 1,080 last year, according to the police statistics.
The 110th and 115th precincts, which cover Corona, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, also received additional patrols, the NYPD spokesman said.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.