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Williamsburg Turns Out as Crime Drops

As Brooklyn residents celebrated National Night Out this week at Continental Skate Park, some South Williamsburg residents said that police must do a better job in the neighborhood, even as two North Brooklyn precincts have seen a drop in major crimes this summer.

Across major crime categories, with the exception of burglaries, criminal complaints are down in both the 90th and 94th precincts compared with last summer, a trend that officers noted in June.

In the 94th Precinct, which covers Williamsburg’s north side and Greenpoint, overall complaints this year are down 8.83 percent, with robberies down 23.5 percent, felony assaults down 13.7 percent, grand larcenies down 10.7 percent and auto thefts down 25 percent.

In the 90th Precinct, which covers south and east Williamsburg, overall crime is down 13.85 percent so far this year, with robberies down 29.9 percent, felony assaults are down 5.1 percent, grand larcenies are down 23 percent and auto thefts are down 24.5 percent.

90th Precinct Community Affairs officer Juan Roman believes that major crimes have been diminishing because of good police work and community outreach over the past year.

“We have more involvement from the police and the community, and many community members have stepped up to be community leaders, speaking up about these issues,” said Roman.

Burglaries represent the sole major crimes statistic that has increased compared with last year, up 19 percent in the 90th Precinct and 18.4 percent in the 94th Precinct.

According to Luis Garden Acosta, founder of El Puente (211 S. 4th Street), the crime that is in the neighborhood “is the dwindling support for young people who are turning now to gangs to foster a sense of security and identity.”

“Crime stats may be down across the city, but it means nothing to young people who have to fear walking on certain blocks,”he said.

It is a different story on Williamsburg’s north side, which is patrolled by officers in the 94th Precinct.At several precinct and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth meetings this spring, residents have complained about quality-of-life issues such as noise, drug use, and vagrancy due to the prevalence of vacant lots.

Despite these problems, one North Brooklyn resident is not too worried.

“People who move into the neighborhood, they’re buying homes.They’re not transient people,” said Tom Kennison, a North Brooklyn resident.“You’ve got landlords living in the houses now and they see what goes on.”

City Council candidates Maritza Davila and incumbent Councilmember Diana Reyna, and District Manager Gerry Esposito attended National Night Out at the park, and have campaigned heavily on reducing crime in the 90th and 83rd precincts.

Whoever wins will have the challenge of reducing what many community leaders describe as a rise in gang activity, despite the drop in major crimes.

“During National Night Out we reflect on the progress our community and precincts have made to foster a productive relationship that has assisted with a drop in crime rates,” said Councilmember Reyna. “The arrest of the killers of Jose Sucuzhanay and Richard Duran point to the successful cooperation our local precincts and community residents have built. Our community stands shoulder to shoulder with police officers and auxiliaries combating crime and bringing awareness to important quality of life issues in our neighborhood. Community residents work alongside our precinct officers to take back the streets of our neighborhood by breaking the silence and I want to thank them all as we continue to hope; working together for justice and peace.”

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