Today’s news:

Cops insist area crime is down

The gang-related slaying and sexual assault which made headlines recently may have left Canarsie painted in ugly shades, but they’re not the whole picture.

So said Captain Milt Marmara, the commanding officer of the 69th Precinct, who told community council members last week that despite these two unsolved incidents, crime is down in the tree-lined neighborhood.

“We’re down in crime across the board,” Marmara assured council members while, at the same time, outlining the high-profile crimes that have caught residents’ attention of late. “We’re only up by one rape report%u2026 that’s the attempted rape of a young 14-year-old girl.”

Recounting the horrific scene, Marmara said that the teen was on her way home from school at 4:40 p.m. on October 20 when a black man between 25 and 35 years old stopped her.

The suspect pulled a knife and ordered her to a backyard where he “tried to rape her,” Marmara said.

But moments before he could commit the deed, the rapist got frightened and ran off, leaving the teen rattled but unharmed.

Marmara said that investigators put out a sketch of the suspect hours after it took place.

October 20 must have been a day for the record books in Canarsie, because an hour before the attempted rape cops were responding to a shooting that left a 17-year-old dead.

Police said that the victim, identified as Dudzinskis Dudenas, was shot in the back near the corner of East 96th Street and Flatlands Avenue at 4 p.m. He died of his wounds a short time later at Brookdale Hospital.

Investigators later determined that Dudenas’ death was linked to gang violence, possibly between the notorious Bloods and Crips street gangs.

Marmara said that the killing “involved gangs from different neighborhoods.”

None of the principals involved in the carnage lived in the community, he explained.

“One kid got into a fight with another kid and both of them called their friends to have a fight,” he said. “Those involved were from two different areas: Flatbush and East New York and Brownsville.”

While gang members do live in the neighborhood, gang activity has been minimal, he said, encouraging local parents to make sure that their children are not getting recruited by these criminal enterprises.

“You have to look at who your children are associating with,” he said. “You should also look into their book bags. They may be flashing certain signs and writing certain things that could be gang related.”

According to NYPD statistics, felony crime in Canarsie has fallen by 15 percent this year. Since 2001, felony crime has decreased by nearly 41 percent.

Most of the crime drops are in the double digits save for robbery, which has dropped by 1.5 percent this year. The figure amounts to three fewer robberies than the 199 investigated last year.

While car thefts are down 18 percent for the year, cops saw a spike in them over the last month. Twenty-two cars have disappeared off the streets of Canarsie since mid October -- seven more than during the same four weeks in 2008.

“In the last two weeks we saw a couple of certain car models getting stolen,” Marmara said. “Most of them are Toyota Camrys and Nissan Maximas made in the early 90s or the late 80s.”

“We have an organized crew of car thieves going through Canarsie every once and awhile,” he explained. “Still, we’re doing as much as we can to make this the safest neighborhood possible.”

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