108th Pct sees rise in crime

108th Pct sees rise in crime
By Rebecca henely

While the murder rate remains low in the Police Department’s 108th Precinct, incidents of crime increased by nearly 4 percent in 2010, with significant jumps in the number of rapes, robberies and felony assaults in the area, according to police statistics for the year so far.

The 108th Precinct, which encompasses the south section of Long Island City, Hunters Point, Sunnyside and Woodside, had 1,220 incidents of crime through Dec. 19 this year, compared to 1,175 incidents in 2009 in the same time period.

Only two murders occurred all year. The murder rate has been historically low in the area. Three murders occurred in 2009, three in 2001 and five in 1998. The rate of slayings has been decreasing since 1990, which recorded 16 murders, yet even that number was low compared to neighboring precincts such as the 110th, which had 36 murders in that year.

One homicide occurred in February, when 28-year-old Richard Contreras of Long Island City allegedly struck Jiangiu Chen, a 52-year-old Elmhurst resident who was riding a motor scooter on the Long Island Expressway’s Service Road between 39th Place and 39th Street. Contreras was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and driving while intoxicated, police said.

The 108th saw significant increases in rape, robbery and felony assault this year and a small rise in grand larceny auto compared to 2009. There were 17 rapes in 2010 compared to 12 in 2009 at the same time last year. Robberies saw an almost 22 percent increase, with 186 occurring in 2010 compared to 153 at the same time in 2009. Felony assaults jumped more than 31 percent, with 126 occurring in 2010 compared to 96 at the same time last year. Grand larceny autos increased by almost 6 percent, with 192 occurring this year compared to 182 a year earlier.

Two major crimes decreased compared to incidents that in the year-earlier span. Burglaries dropped by almost 3 percent, with 247 occurring in 2010 and 254 in the same time period in 2009. Grand larcenies also decreased by more than 5 percent, with 450 occurring in 2010 compared to 475 a year earlier.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.