By Stephen Witt
With 2007 winding down, major felony crime in the 60th Precinct has fallen nearly 10 percent in 2007 compared to 2006, according to police statistics. The precinct covers Coney Island and Brighton Beach. “We have had a very good year,” said Dep. Inspector Richard Johnsen, commanding officer of the 60th Precinct. “The officers of the 60th Precinct have been working very hard and with good cooperation with the community.” Among the bigger decreases was in robbery, which is down nearly 16 percent for the year. There were 291 reported robberies thus far this year as compared to 346 at this time in 2006. Burglaries fell a little more than 14 percent with 187 such crimes reported in 2007 as compared to 218 last year. Over two years – or compared to 2005 — burglaries have fallen a whopping 27.5 percent. Also seeing a marked decrease is auto theft, which has fallen 17 percent for the year with 126 reported thefts. At the end of 2006 there were 146 auto thefts. Reported grand larcenies in the precinct fell a little more than seven percent, with 543 cases reported in 2007 as compared to 586 in 2006. Felony assault is about even for the year. There have been 245 reported felony assaults in 2007 as compared to 246 in 2996. Murder continues to decrease with four this year as compared to five in 2006; while rape is down three incidents. There have been eight reported rapes this year as compared to 11 at this time last year. Johnsen pointed out that the precinct is doing an extremely effective job on robbery and noted that in December, the “Cops of the Month” caught another robber. “We also have a fantastic detective squad and we have fine detectives in the precinct who do follow-up work,” said Johnsen, adding the Coney Island/Brighton Beach neighborhoods are also communities that look out for each other. In analyzing the amazing city trend of decreasing crime since the 1990s – there were 24 murders in the precinct in 1995 — Johnsen said while both drugs and gang violence seem to have decreased, they are both still out there. Johnsen attributed the NYPD success to an overall redirection of police officers, and concentrating those officers on hot spots and local crime. “We’re going after the recidivists. We target problem areas and are correcting problem areas. It’s an overall redirection and redeployment of personnel — putting the round peg in the round hole,” he said.