Forest Hills-Kew Gardens crime drops by 6% overall

By Zach Patberg

The year's two murders – down from four in 2004 – occurred in the fall, according to the 112th Precinct, which also covers Rego Park and Kew Gardens.In November, a Forest Hills man was charged with strangling his 26-year-old girlfriend and abandoning her 4-year-old daughter on a Middle Village street. The case received heavy press coverage as authorities struggled to both find a home for the orphaned girl, Valery, and the location of her mother's body. Valery is now living with a relative in Long Island and her mother, Monica Rivadinerra, was found wrapped in a plastic bag in a landfill in Pennsylvania. The boyfriend, Cesar Ascarronz, was charged with murder and endangering the welfare of a child.Two months later, a 57-year-old accountant was stabbed to death in front of his Forest Hills apartment building. No one has yet been arrested in the slaying.Burglary was also down 43 percent from 396 incidents in 2004.”At one point we were having so many burglaries, but the police have made a lot of progress in that respect,” said Heidi Chain, president of the 112th Precinct Community Council.One area where she has noticed a problem is in robberies despite statistics showing it went down by 1 percent to 196 last year from 198 in 2004.. The crimes mostly involve high school students stealing other students' ipods and cell phones, Chain said.Chain has advocated that cameras be put up in Forest Hills subway stations to deter muggings and any threats of terrorism.While the number of rapes has risen from nine in 2004 to 10 in 2005, police at the precinct have said the incidents generally involve acquaintances rather than an attack by a stranger.Felonious assaults also grew by 13 percent to 72 in 2005 from 64 the previous year as did grand larceny, which went up by 7 percent to 766 incidents last year compared to 716 in 2004.Total crime in the area, however, experienced a 6 percent drop.”Overall, the precinct has a fairly good handle on things,” Chain said. “I hope they keep it up.”Reach reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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