By Gina Martinez
Crime in the 109th Precinct, which covers part of northeast Queens, has gone up slightly in 2016, according to NYPD crime statistics through Dec. 18.
The precinct, which includes Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone, College Point, Bay Terrace and part of Auburndale, has seen a 2.04 percent overall rise in crime, most notably for robbery, which is up 14.3 percent.
Rape and murder rates have decreased drastically. In 2015 there were three murders in the 109th Precinct, while this year the number has dropped to two for a 33.3 percent decrease.
In 2015 20 rapes were reported, but this year the number fell 25 percent to 15.The number of burglaries have held steady at 313 incidents both last year and this year. Grand larcenies were up by 1.1 percent from 904 reported in 2015 to 914 so far this year. Felony assault has gone up 6 percent from 233 last year to 247 in 2016. The NYPD data also showed there were 155 cases of grand larceny compared to 162 last year, a 4.3 percent decrease.
There were only two shooting incidents this year, down 50 percent from 2015, when there were four. At a community council meeting in October, Deputy Inspector Judith Harrison pointed out a specific pattern of grand larcenies occurring in downtown Flushing. She said groups of two or three people would work together to rob unsuspecting victims.
“What they would do is pour a substance on you and one person would bring it to your attention,” she said. “Then you start looking down, patting yourself and while you are so busy trying to get the substance off of you, you don’t realize there’s someone behind you going into your bag.”
According to Harrison, there were three confirmed cases of this scheme in the 109th Precinct, one confirmed case in the 111th Precinct and one in the 108th Precinct.
While the 109th has recorded a small spike in crime, collectively New York City is as safe as its ever been.
As of Tuesday there had been fewer than 1,000 shootings in the city, a record low. With less than a week left in the year, shooting incidents totaled 985, compared to 1,124 at this time last year, a 12.3 percent drop. In 1992 there were 5,000 shootings by the end of the year.
According to stats for the entire city, crime is down in every major category besides assault, which rose by 2.1 percent. There were 20,452 assault cases in 2016 compared to 20,033 in 2015.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart