Today’s news:

‘Incredible’ start to a safe 2009

So far, so good.

While crime used to run rampant on the streets of Flatbush, it has been quiet as a church mouse taking an afternoon nap within the confines of the 70th Precinct thus far in 2009.

“This year we’re having an incredible start. Crime is down almost 20 percent for the first 25 days and there has been a decrease in all the major crime categories,” said Dep. Inspector Ralph Monteforte, commanding officer of the precinct.

The biggest drop thus far this year in raw numbers was grand larceny, which is down nearly 29 percent for the year with 37 incidents as compared to 52 at this time last year.

Robbery has fallen over 16 percent with 31 reported incidents thus far this year as compared to 37 after the first 25 days of 2008.

Burglary and felony assaults are just slightly lower than this time last year.

Thus far in 2009 there have been 23 reported burglaries as compared to 25 last year, and 18 felony assaults as compared to 19 at this time last year.

There have been no reported rapes or murders so far this year.

“Last year we broke a record with the lowest amount of shootings in a year. We had 24 people shot in 18 incidents and at no time have we ever had that number,” said Monteforte.

“If you go back to 1993, there were 116 shooting incidents where 134 people were shot. So this command in 15 years has changed dramatically,” he added.

Monteforte also noted that last year the precinct took 61 firearms off the street, which was a double-digit increase from 2007.

“We’ve had five gun arrests this year,” he said.

Monteforte said the precinct also deploys 79 cops in the impact zone, which are areas in a precinct deemed statistically to be high in crime.

The impact zone zigzags, but is generally in the northeastern portion of the precinct with a pocket impact zone in the southern part of the precinct, he said.

Monteforte noted there are no usual crime trends associated with winter months, but residents should remain on guard to youth crimes where younger kids are stealing small electronic devices.

“So if you’re waiting for a bus or just walking and have an electronic device in your hand , I want you to be aware of your surroundings before somebody comes up and snatches it, and then takes off,” said Monteforte.

“There’s not an increase in it, but there’s still enough out there that we have to remain vigilant.”

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