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Capt. vows to keep residents in the loop

With serious felony crime statistically flat for the year, the new commanding officer of the 70th Precinct vowed last week to keep local residents in the loop regarding crime trends.

“I will have regular Power Point presentations showing where crimes are committed, and if crime is up or down. I won’t hide anything from the community,” said Dep. Inspector Ralph Monteforte at his first community council meeting after taking the reins from former Dep. Inspector Tom Harris, who retired.

Monteforte comes to the precinct after commanding the 69th Precinct, which last year had an 18 percent decrease in crime – the second best of all the precincts in the city.

In his first meeting, Monteforte patiently took about 20 complaints and questions from residents – mainly concerning quality-of-life issues and some illegal drug activity.

Monteforte said he was glad that many from the community came out to meet him and pepper him with questions.

“I need help from the community and rely on them to be the eyes and ears while we’re out there on the streets fighting crime,” he said.

For the year, crime in the city is down an anemic .65 percent from last year, but Monteforte was quick to point out that a few weeks ago crime was up over four percent from this time in 2007.

“It’s going in the right direction,” he said.

Of the major crime categories – murder, rap, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft – only robbery is up in double digits.

There have been 205 reported robberies as compared to 176 at this time last year for a 16 percent increase.

But Monteforte also noted that this is a 17 percent drop from two years ago, and he said Harris did a great job keeping robberies down.

Car thefts are up about 9 percent for the year after dropping about 37 percent from two years ago. There have been 73 cars reported stolen in 2008 as compared to 67 at this time last year.

Grand larceny is up marginally with 321 reported incidents thus far this year as compared to 305 at this time in 2007.

On the plus side, felony assaults are down 20 percent and burglaries are down more than 14 percent for the year.

There have been 144 reported felony assaults thus far in 2008 as compared to 180 at this time in 2007, and 156 reported burglaries so far this year as compared to 182 at this time last year.

There have been three reported murders as compared to two last year; and 18 reported rapes as compared to 14 at this time last year.

Monteforte said there have been eight reported shootings thus far this year as compared to seven last year, and 26 gun arrests this year as compared to 25 at this time in 2007.

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