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Crime drops sharply in Queens in 2014: DA

By Madina Toure

Queens County has played a significant role in the city’s historic drop in major crimes, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said last week.

The county arrested 22.4 percent of the city’s violent felons in 2014, convicted 23 percent of those felons and sent nearly 14 percent of them to prison, according to Brown.

Last year the city recorded a 76.7 percent decline in murders, an 80.5 percent drop in robberies, a 39.7 percent decline in felony assaults and an 81.6 percent decrease in burglaries, he added.

“It was a year in which Queens County was once again among the city’s leaders in crime reduction — and it was a year in which we, as prosecutors, contributed greatly to the cty’s historic decline in serious crime while at the same time expeditiously handled more than 77,000 arrest cases,” Brown told his annual legislative breakfast at his Kew Gardens offices last Friday.

He attributed the sharp decline in crime to the office’s significant technological advancements. His office has become completely computerized. He also said the NYPD Command Center keeps them updated on what is happening in Queens County at all hours of the day.

Brown’s office drafted more than 1,100 search warrants and assistants attended and supervised some 360 lineups in police precincts throughout the county. And he pointed out that 8 percent of all wiretaps in the nation were done in Queens County.

The county also set some city records, including the best arrest-to-arraignment time, the highest violent felony conviction rate and the highest domestic violence conviction rate. The county also brought 49.2 percent of the city’s bail jumping indictments and 87.1 percent of the city’s bail jumping complaints in 2014.

His office has aggressively prosecuted illegal cigarette traffickers and continues to pursue online pornographers and sexual predators, Brown said.

“We have a first-class Child Advocacy Center on Queens Boulevard to assist young victims of physical and sexual abuse and a Family Justice Center located adjacent to the courthouse here in Kew Gardens to help victims of domestic violence and their families,” Brown said.

The office’s Investigations Division brought major cases that broke up a number of violent gun and drug gangs and took down criminal enterprises involving identity theft, credit card fraud, mortgage and insurance fraud and trademark counterfeiting.

The Queens DA also rescued young women from prostitution and sex trafficking rings. The office currently has 13 Class B felony sex trafficking convictions and 26 additional defendants charged with sex trafficking. The office also assisted in 32 successful evictions in 2014 relating to prostitution, drug dealing, gambling and other crimes. Brown said.

And since the creation of the Veterans Court in December 2010, 59 jail-bound veterans have been diverted through the Queens Veterans Court.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour‌e@cng‌local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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