Grand larceny a problem in Downtown precinct
By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The NYPD has always given out crime statistics. But now these statistics have come to life, precinct by precinct, on its new crime map, available on the department’s website.
And the new map reveals a surprising fact about the Downtown Brooklyn area – which has a low crime rate for most offenses but skyrockets for one non-violent particular offense.
The current version of the map, introduced earlier this month, gives statistics for October 2013, the most recent month for which a complete set of figures is available.
The map’s most unique feature is its color-coding. Precincts with 0.2856 to 1.044 crimes per 1,000 residents are white; precincts with 1.044 to 1.530 are yellow; precincts with 1,530 to 2.153 are light orange; precincts with 2.153 to 3.329 are dark orange; and precincts with 3.329 to 10.94 crimes per 1,000 residents are a dark red color.
The Brooklyn precincts with the highest crime rates for October, according to the map, were the 81st Precinct (Bushwick), the 73rd Precinct (Brownsville), and, somewhat surprisingly, the normally low-crime 84th Precinct (Brooklyn Heights-Downtown).
The 73rd, according to the NYPD, reported 219 crimes in October. These included two murders, 6 rapes, 51 robberies, 83 felony assaults, 30 burglaries, 38 grand larcenies, and nine grand larcenies of motor vehicles.
The 81st, according to the map, reported 144 crimes. These included three rapes, 30 robberies, 27 felony assaults, 27 burglaries, 48 grand larcenies and nine larcenies of motor vehicles.
The 84th, the crime map reveals, reported 116 crimes. These included 19 robberies, 12 felony assaults, 14 burglaries, 67 grand larcenies and four grand larcenies of motor vehicles.
Clearly, what drove the 84th’s overall crime rate up was the figure for grand larcenies. Often, the public in general has a misconception about what “grand larceny” means – the image conjures up master thieves cracking a safe or stealing diamonds.
Actually, says Leslie Lewis, criminal justice coordinator at Borough Hall as well as president of the 84th Precinct Community Council, “grand larceny” can be any theft that includes a debit or credit card.
“Someone puts her purse in the cart in the supermarket, then goes to look at the shelves and someone takes it – that’s grand larceny,” said Lewis. “Someone sits in a restaurant and hangs her purse on the back of her chair, and someone else deliberately sits in back of her and rummages through it when she’s not looking. That’s grand larceny.”
Given this, the fact that the Fulton Mall, the borough’s largest shopping district, and smaller shopping districts on Montague and Court streets are all within the 84th is most likely contributing to these figures.
Cellphone thefts, says Lewis, are also counted as grand larceny, although most of these occur in the subway system. “We give warnings about leaving property unattended at every Community Council meeting,” he said.
The lowest-crime precincts in Brooklyn, as of October, were in the southern half of the borough, from Sunset Park to Coney Island to Sheepshead Bay to Flatlands-Marine Park.
For example, according to the map, Bay Ridge’s 68th Precinct reported 69 crimes for 124,491 residents– eight robberies, five felony assaults, 15 burglaries, 29 grand larcenies and 12 grand larcenies of motor vehicles.
Likewise, the 60th Precinct (Coney Island/Gravesend) reported 106 crimes for 104,440 residents – 19 robberies, 19 felony assaults, 18 burglaries, 41 grand larcenies and seven grand larecnies of motor vehicles.