Today’s news:

East Flatbush streets plagued with violent crime

By Stephen Witt

Despite hard-working cops, violent crime continues to ebb up on the streets of East Flatbush, according to police statistics.

“We’re doing well overall with major crimes down 200 incidents over last year, but we’ve had 58 shootings and 80 people shot for the year,” said Dep. Inspector Corey Pegues, commanding officer of the 67th Precinct.

Pegues said last year there were 62 shootings for the entire year, and the precinct is now on target to end 2009 somewhere over 70 shootings.

Shootings were down this year for awhile, but over the summer they spiked with 15 people shot in July and 18 shootings in August, said Pegues.

The precinct, which led the city two of the past three years in gun arrests, has taken 131 firearms off the street as compared to 135 at this time in 2008.

Corresponding to the violent crime, murders are up 14 percent for the year with 16 so far in 2009 as compared to 14 at this time last year.

The latest murders include one incident that happened on Oct. 17, when police were called to respond to a heated argument on East 49th Street near Snyder Avenue. Upon arrival, they found 56-year-old Charles Blaze lying on the street. He was shot twice in the torso. He was rushed to Kings County Hospital where he died of his injuries.

The second incident occurred Oct. 18 inside the Smooth Taste Restaurant and Juice Bar on Avenue D near East 51st Street and then spilled out on the street. When police arrived, they found two men suffering deep cuts to the neck, and one of the men, 25-year-old Ricky Lewis of Gates Avenue, died from the wound.

Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding these incidents to come forward. Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

Pegues said while cops know who the violent players are in the community, violence is often random.

The precinct has extra police at all the hot spots such as East 45th Street and Church Avenue, and Nostrand Avenue and Clarendon Road, but it’s hard to predict where random acts of violence can occur, he said.

In corresponding violent crime, felony assault is up 13 percent for the year with 288 reported incidents so far in 2009 as compared to 343 at this time last year.

However, police have been successful curbing overall felony crime, which is down nearly 12 percent for the year.

Leading the reduction is grand larceny, which is down 29 percent for the year with 364 reported incidents compared to 514 at this time last year.

Robbery is down nearly 20 percent with 321 reported incidents so far in 2009 as compared to 399 at this time last year.

Auto theft is down nearly 15 percent with 204 incidents so far this year as compared to 239 at this time in 2008.

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