Today’s news:

Robberies, thefts drive spike

Although crime is down 6.5 percent from its levels of this time last year, this past month has not been a good one for the 94th Precinct, which encompasses Williamsburg north of Metropolitan Avenue and Greenpoint.

On April 28, 38−year−old Greenpoint resident Violetta Krzyzak was struck by a stolen van in a hit−and−run while crossing Manhattan Avenue and India Street, and later died in Bellevue Hospital. The van was driven by Jose Maldonado, 28, who had allegedly run a red light and has since been apprehended.

For the 28−day period ending May 17, crime increased 44 percent from its levels of the corresponding 28−day period last year. The increase was driven by a large increase in robberies, burglaries, and auto thefts: There were 13 robberies, 13 burglaries, and 14 auto thefts, representing respective increases of 117, 63, and 180 percent.

Deputy Inspector Dennis Fulton, the precinct’s commanding officer, attributed the robbery increase to a group of four youths between 16 and 20 from another part of Brooklyn who drove into the 94th Precinct and committed at least six robberies with a fake gun.

He said these four suspects had since been arrested, and that the precinct working with the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute them to the full extent of the law.

“For a safe community like the ‘Nine−Four’ is, one group of perpetrators can screw our numbers and make this community not look so safe,” he said at the precinct’s Community Council meeting on Monday.

Overall for the year, robberies are up 40 percent.

Burglaries are up 22 percent for the year. Fulton said they were largely concentrated in the Williamsburg portion of the precinct, south of Meeker Avenue.

“Proportionally, we have a lot more there than we have in Greenpoint,” he said.

He expressed optimism that the precinct would soon catch those responsible.

“We have a couple of lead on a couple of people, the detectives are working on it,” he said.

Despite the recent spike in auto thefts, the crime has actually decreased by 23 percent for the year. Fulton said the Honda Civic was the most common stolen car. He exhorted community residents to be vigilant and to report suspicious behavior to authorities.

“Everybody’s got a cell phone. Don’t be afraid to tattle, and call 911 when it’s appropriate,” he said.

In other categories, there have been two murders in the precinct, an increase from the one at this time last year. Both of these murders occurred on March 8 in well−publicized incidents, and suspects for both have been arrested.

There has been one rape in the precinct, though officers caution that rape statistics are notoriously unreliable because of the under−reported nature of the crime.

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