By Howard Koplowitz
There were 50 more murders in 2006 compared to 2005. Police reported 590 murders in 2006 compared to just 540 in 2005 Ð a 9.2 percent increase.But a police spokesman said that in actuality there were 12 more murder victims in 2006 then there were in 2005.The spokesman attributed the 50-murder increase to “the reclassification of homicides from years past.” He said there were 38 homicide reclassifications in 2006, meaning that there were only 12 more murder victims last year than in 2005.For example, he said some of those 38 homicide reclassifications could have resulted from victims who suffered gunshot wounds and succumbed to their injuries last year.The spokesman said those 38 reclassifications in 2006 were “more than usual” compared to other years but could not explain why that was the case.He initially said that some of the victims who were reclassified were first injured some 20 years ago. But he backtracked and said that 20-year figure was an exaggeration and that most of the reclassifications were from victims who were injured from gunfire about two, three or four years ago. But the murder statistics for Queens did not reflect the citywide trend. The borough saw about a 12 percent drop in its murder rate from 2005 to 2006. Police recorded 84 murders in Queens for 2006 and 94 in 2005. All other major crime statistics Ð identified by police as murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault, burglary, grand larceny and car thefts Ð saw decreases across the city.Police reported a double-digit decrease in reports of stolen cars from 2006 to 2005, while every other major crime category saw single-digit drops.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.