Sept. 29, 2012 By Christian Murray
Violent crime throughout Police Precinct 108 continues to rise—despite the drop in the precinct’s overall crime rate.
Captain Donald Powers, the commanding officer of the 108 precinct (that covers Sunnyside, Woodside & LIC), said that the number of major crimes reported in the precinct this year has dropped 6 percent. For the year through Sept. 23, 869 major crimes have been reported, compared to 924 for the same period a year ago.
“Our crime numbers are excellent,” Powers said, adding, “We are having an excellent year.”
However, the 108 Precinct’s numbers are deceptive since they are based on seven major crime categories—three that don’t involve violence. For the year to date, violent crimes are way up. There have been 2 murders, 13 rapes, 141 robberies and 93 felony assaults—compared to this time last year when there were 0 murders, 6 rapes, 111 robberies and 80 felony assaults.
The big drop off, which has led to the decline in the crime rate, has been in the number of reported burglaries, grand larcenies and stolen autos. There have been 182 burglaries reported this year, down from 203 for the same period last year; 324 grand larcenies, compared to 381 for the same period a year ago; and 114 stolen autos, a drastic decline from 143 reported at this time a year ago.
Powers partially explained what was behind the uptick in violent crime. He said that random timing played a role – with the two murders this year occurring within the past month. He said that in 2011, two murders were committed in October.
The first murder this year occurred on August 26 when two homeless men got into a fight at 69th Street and Woodside Ave. and one fatally stabbed the other with a shard of glass. The other murder was the highly-publicized case where a Sunnyside man fatally stabbed his wife and then jumped from the elevated tracks at the 40th Street station to his death.
Meanwhile, in other publicized cases, Powers said the man riding a BMX bike late at night who forcibly touched a woman in Woodside has yet to be apprehended.
Powers said that a recent incident—caught on YouTube– of a man being knocked out by a bouncer at a nightclub on Greenpoint Ave. is unlikely to lead to any charges being brought. Powers said the victim does not want to make a criminal complaint.
Additionally, burglars continue to target Sunnyside Gardens. In the past month, two burglaries—and one attempted burglary—were reported in the Gardens.