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Queens Chronicle

Boro fares well in new crime report

Nine Queens areas ranked among city’s top 20 safest neighborhoods

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Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:37 pm, Thu Sep 29, 2011.

Think the Rockaways are more dangerous than Greenwich Village? Or you might be safer on the Upper West Side than in Corona?

Think again.

DNAinfo.com, a Manhattan-based news website, recently released a comprehensive and interactive report that ranks the safety of every neighborhood in the city’s five boroughs— and its findings surprised even Murray Weiss, who helped to create the report and is a veteran crime reporter who has covered the city’s sometimes seedy underside for decades.

“What’s interesting citywide, and specifically in Queens, is the study shows neighborhoods where you thought crime was down, that it’s even lower than you thought,” said Weiss, now a columnist at the website. “And it shows some neighborhoods you thought were a little safer, when you look at them, there are actually other places that are safer.”

Weiss and others at DNAinfo.com worked for months on the Crime & Safety Report, which is an analysis of data from the NYPD and the U.S. Census Bureau.

A number of Queens neighborhoods fared extremely well in the report, with nine of its 15 neighborhoods ranking in the city’s top 20.

Forest Hills and Rego Park ranked as the safest area in Queens and the sixth safest in the city.

Great Kills and Tottenville in Staten Island ranked number one in the city, and Midtown came in dead last in a list of 69 neighborhoods.

Trendy Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District were ranked as the second worst areas in the city.

“Queens has a story of places like Forest Hills and Rego Park still being the safest neighborhoods in Queens, but you see spikes in places like Howard Beach, which has a history of being one of the safest neighborhoods in the city,” Weiss said. “There are areas that could use more policing.”

Howard Beach and Ozone Park ranked 26th in the city, though the area landed dead last for per capita auto theft in 2010, with 26 thefts per 10,000 residents. Still, this category of crime was down 90 percent from 1993 to 2010.

Following Forest Hills and Rego Park, Bayside placed eighth, Flushing and Whitestone ninth, and the Rockaways tenth. The Upper East Side, one of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, was ranked number 14, with Corona and Elmhurst placing 15th.

Queens Village came in as slightly more safe than the Upper West Side, ranking number 17 compared to 18 for the Upper West Side.

St. Albans and South Jamaica placed last for Queens neighborhoods and number 55 in the city.

“Our concern is about getting guns off the street,” said Vivian McMillian, president of the 113th Precinct Community Council. “We want to have forums to talk to young adults going out there shooting. A lot of the shootings are between people who know each other. We need more training for our youth. We need to get the guns off the street. We need to stop the guns from coming into the city. Everybody has a gun.”

McMillian said the precinct needs more funding, and she said there needs to be more activities for area youth.

“I would like a youth center, not only for recreation but with mentors, somebody the kids could talk to,” she said. “I’d like for former gang members to come in and talk to the youth and tell them they know what they’re going through, they know how to get out of it.”

Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens ranked 22nd in the city and 11th in Queens, with a 13 percent rise in felony assault from 2008 to 2010 but a 39 percent decrease in reported rapes from 2009 to 2010.

Maria Thomson, president of the 102nd Precinct Community Council, which covers Woodhaven and Richmond Hill, said the area “lacks manpower.”

“We have great police officers, great lieutenants, great sergeants, but we don’t have enough of them,” Thomson said. “We have not received one police officer from the last two police classes.”

Thomson said she ideally would like to see an additional 25 officers in the 102nd.

“We have expanded greatly in population,” she said. “It’s a whole different precinct than five, six years ago. We have more people here than ever before, and we have more problem people than ever before.”

Thomson said she would especially like additional officers to cope with noise complaints, domestic violence, thefts and burglaries.

Weiss said fewer cops policing neighborhoods is a problem throughout the city.

“The size of the police department has been shrinking since 2002,” he said. “A lot of cops are being diverted into counterterrorism efforts.”

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