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‘Different world’ in the ’burg

Crime is down in Williamsburg nearly 12 percent this year, continuing its downward trend over the past decade.

At the last precinct council meeting of the year, 90th Precinct Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper reflected on the improvements the Williamsburg community has faced over the past decade, noting that overall crime decreased 13.46 percent since 1998. “In the last 10 years, I think we have made incredible inroads in this community,” said Kemper. “If you compare to a decade ago, it’s a different world.”

Over the past decade, rape is down 65.5 percent, robberies dropped 26.2 percent, felony assaults are down 29.3 percent, burglaries are down 13.1 percent, and auto thefts are down 64.3 percent. Grand larcenies, however, increased 109.7 percent over the past 10 years, though they have decreased 25.2 percent over the past year.

Between 2008 and 2009, rape is down 11.1 percent, robberies are down 24.4 percent, and auto thefts are down 20.3 percent, though burglaries are up 17 percent and felony assaults are slightly higher, at 1.9 percent.

Overall, there were 1,550 criminal complaints, compared with 1,761 complaints in 2008. According to Kemper, just over 4,000 individuals were arrested in the 90th Precinct over the past year.

“Your precinct is working. This is a busy shop,” said Kemper.

With the holiday season approaching, Kemper told community members at the Precinct Council meeting at Lindsay Park Houses (30 Montrose Ave.) that more officers will be present on commercial corridors in the precinct, such as Graham Avenue, Grand Street, Bedford Avenue, and Broadway, as well as in front of churches and synagogues during religious ceremonies.

“There will be lots of people walking and shopping around. Our goal is to make this the safest area for shopping,” said Kemper.

Kemper noted that Williamsburg remains one of the most complex neighborhoods in New York City to police, where assaults and property thefts can occur next to odd cases of vandalism, such as the repainting of the Bedford Avenue bicycle lanes, or a flash mob of roving Santa Clauses which may fill the streets of Williamsburg on December 12 with good cheer and pedestrian traffic.

“The complexities in Williamsburg are unlike anywhere else. I’m confident we have the resources to combat any problem,” said Kemper. “I’m hoping they won’t be violent Santas.”

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