Today’s news:

Felony assaults nosedive

With 2008 just about at the halfway point, crime within the 70th Precinct is down slightly — less than three percent — compared to the halfway mark in 2007.

Of the major felony crimes – murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft – felony assault has registered the largest decrease, at 26 percent.

There have been 167 reported felony assaults so far this year as compared to 227 at this time in 2007.

On the other side, robbery is up nearly 15 percent with 246 such crimes reported thus far in 2008 as compared to 214 at this time last year.

Inspector Ralph Monteforte said that in looking at these two crime categories it is sometimes helpful to look at the change over two years.

For instance, robberies are down over 15 percent from two years ago [2006] while felony assault is down just 3.4 percent from 2006, he said.

“One area of concern is cell phone snatches, especially Sidekicks,” said Monteforte.

Burglary is down over 18 percent for the year with 177 reported incidents this year as compared to 217 at this time in 2007.

Car thefts are on the rise, up 15.3 percent with 90 such thefts thus far in 2008 as compared to 78 at this time in 2007.

However, car thefts are down some 30 percent over this time in 2006.

Grand larceny is up a little more than eight percent with 394 incidents reported thus far this year as compared to 364 at this time in 2007.

There have been 19 reported rapes as compared to 18 at this time last year, and three reported murders as compared to two at this time in 2007.

Monteforte said shootings are down 42 percent for the year. Thus far this year the precinct has reported seven incidents; there were 12 incidents with 15 victims at this time last year, he said.

The decrease in shootings can be attributed in large part to the precinct taking more guns off the streets, said Monteforte.

With the summer upon the precinct, Monteforte said he has additional manpower available since the precinct doesn’t have to deal with school dismissals.

“We institute one sergeant and five police officers just to handle 311 noise complaints on the weekends like house parties and club noise,” said Monteforte.

The 70th Precinct also covers the busy Prospect Park Parade Ground, and Monteforte said he assigns the community policing unit in the area as well as sector cars.

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