Crime down way Downtown, but spikes in other precincts

By Albert Amateau

Felony crime Downtown continued to decline as it has throughout the city for the past 15 years according to New York Police Department statistics tracking the seven major crime categories in 2006 compared with previous years.

Citywide, however, the murder rate rose 9.2 percent last year, an increase police officials attributed partially to victims who were attacked in prior years and died in 2006 when their assaults were reclassified as murders.

In the First Precinct covering Lower Manhattan and Soho, there was a 12.27 percent decrease in crime last year, exceeding the citywide decline of 4.71 percent.

But while there were no murders in the First Precinct in 2005, one woman was stabbed to death in September last year on State St. on her way to work in the Financial District. Her estranged husband was arrested in the Bronx and charged with the murder. There were five rapes in the precinct last year compared to seven the previous year

Robbery in the First Precinct declined 30.4 percent from 174 in 2005 to 121 last year and felony assault declined 21.7 percent from 115 in 2005 to 90 last year. There was a 12.4 percent decline in burglaries, down from 289 in 2005 to 253 last year, and a 9.5 percent decline in grand larceny, from 1,626 in 2005 to 1,470 last year. Auto thefts declined 12.5 percent, down from 88 to 77 last year.

The First was one of the few Downtown precincts to have a drop in felony assaults. The commander of the 10th Precinct in Chelsea and the community affairs officer in the Village’s Sixth Precinct both said that the increase was due to a spike in the number of incidents in bars and clubs. Commanders of the Fifth in Chinatown and the Seventh on the Lower East Side did not return calls for comment about the increases in those precincts.

In the Seventh Precinct, which extends south of Houston St. and east of Allen St. to the East River, crime overall increased 4.43 percent with significant spikes in burglaries, which increased 29.9 percent last year to 126 up from 97 the previous year, and grand larceny, which increased 13.2 percent with 359 last year up from 317 the previous year.

There were four murders in the precinct last year compared to seven in 2005 and five rapes compared to nine in 2005. Robberies also declined 16.5 percent with 171 last year compared to 205 the previous year.

Felony assault rose 7.4 percent with 101 reported last year compared to 94 in 2005. Auto theft was nearly the same, with 83 reported last year compared to 84 in 2005

Crime in the Fifth Precinct, which extends from Broadway to Allen St. and from Houston St. to the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River, declined 5.55 percent last year from 2005. However, there was a 29.6 percent increase in felony assault, up from 81 in 2005 to 105 last year.

There were two murders in the Fifth Precinct last year, down from four the previous year and five rapes, down from 10 in 2005. Robberies were nearly the same: 132 last year compared to 131 in 2005. There were 5.1 percent fewer burglaries last year, 149 compared to 157 in 2005. Grand larceny declined 7.4 percent to 605 last year, down from 654 the previous year. Auto theft declined 35.4 percent to 40 last year from 62 the previous year.

In the Sixth Precinct covering the area from 14th to Houston Sts. between the Hudson River and Broadway, there were three murders last year compared to one the previous year. One was of Adrienne Shelly, the actress who lived with her family in Tribeca and who was murdered two months ago in the Abingdon Sq. apartment she used as an office. Another murder was of a former Giuliani aide killed in his E. 10th St. apartment in August. There were arrests on both of them. The third murder was of a homeless man killed on Halloween in 2004 when he hit his head after someone pushed him to the pavement at Bleecker St. The crime was not categorized as a murder until January of last year and there has been no arrest.

Detective Mike Singer, the Sixth’s community affairs officer, said felony assaults were up 13.3 percent because of the bars and clubs, but “Inspector [Theresa] Shortell got a handle on the situation and it’s already improved in the past couple of months.”