Today’s news:

Crime Continues to Drop in the Nabe

Arrests are up 30 percent and crime is down 24 percent in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, so far this year.

Given that situation, cops in the 68th Precinct are doing more with less, stressed State Senator Marty Golden, during a Dyker Heights town hall he sponsored at St. Ephrem’s Old School Hall, Fort Hamilton Parkway and 74th Street.

Crime was just one of the subjects discussed during the lengthy meeting, during which representatives of different city agencies updated residents and listened to their concerns.

It was Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, the commanding officer of the 68th Precinct, who tackled public safety matters during the event, combining insight into current crime patterns as reflected in the NYPD’s CompStat reports, with warnings designed to help residents keep themselves safe.

With the holiday season just around the corner, Rodriguez warned his listeners to be careful while out shopping. They should not leave packages in their cars and go back to the stores, because thieves tend to watch for such actions, he stressed. In addition, women should not leave their pocketbooks in shopping carts or baby carriages, or anyplace where they are unattended, he said.

“It’s a safe neighborhood, considering,” Rodriguez noted. Nonetheless, he said, it is important not to give potential perpetrators the opportunity to commit a crime.

Overall, the drop in crime in the precinct is the second highest in the city, just behind the 61st Precinct, which has a 25 percent decrease in crime, year to date, Rodriguez told the group.

In the 68th Precinct, the largest decrease, so far in 2009, has been in the area of burglary, said Rodriguez, which is down 44.1 percent so far in 2009, compared with a year ago. This, he recalled, reflects the fact that, last year, a single audacious burglar had been on the loose in the neighborhood. As of November 8th, there had been 164 burglaries this year; last year, at this time, there had been 292.

Also way down are robberies and felonious assaults, both of which show a decline of 31.9 percent so far this year. There have been 94 robberies so far in 2009, compared to 138 at this point in 2008. There have been 64 felonious assaults in the precinct year to date; there had been 94 at this time last year.

In the other major crime categories, rape is down 22.2 percent (seven so far this year, compared to nine at this time last year); incidents of grand larceny auto are down 17.2 percent (with 130 so far this year, compared to 157 at this point in 2008) and grand larcenies are down 4.1 percent (with 307 so far in 2009, compared to 320 at this time last year).

The only crime category which has shown an increase is murder. While, in 2008, the 68th Precinct was one of only three in the city to have no murders, there has been one murder so far this year within the precinct’s confines. This year, a car with a body in it was found in the precinct in August, Rodriguez said.

Besides the increase in arrests, there has also been a 20 percentincrease in quality-of-life summonses. “There’s a lot of proactive police work going on,” Rodriguez remarked.

Indeed, he stressed, to reduce crime, from year to year, as the 68th Precinct has done, is increasingly challenging. “Each year, to have success, we have to be more and more proactive,” Rodriguez told the crowd.

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