Today’s news:

Crime down in ’09 in Fresh Meadows

The number of murders, rapes and other major index crimes dropped in Fresh Meadows, Cunningham Heights, Hilltop Village, Electchester and Pomonok in 2009 compared to the previous year, according to year-end statistics from the 107th Precinct.

The 1,325 major index crimes reported in the precinct in 2009 represented an approximate 18 percent decrease from the 1,617 crimes in 2008.

There were three homicides in the 107th, down from four in 2008. There have typically been four or five murders a year in the past several years, which is down more than 70 percent compared to the 14 murders in 1990.

Rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary and grand larceny were all on the decline in 2009. Eleven rapes were reported in the precinct, one less than the 12 in 2008. Robberies fell by more than 13 percent, from 297 in 2008 to 258 in 2009. There were 88 felony assaults, a 4.3 percent drop from the 92 reported in 2008. The 282 burglaries represent a 25 percent decrease from the 376 in 2008. There were 466 grand larcenies, 145 less than the 611 in 2008.

Despite the drop in crime, residents were still shocked by the murders that did occur in the precinct, including a murder-suicide in Fresh Meadows in October.

Morris Green, 76, shot and killed his wife, Charlotte, 78, with a .38-caliber revolver and then shot himself in the chest, police said.

Green had owned Green Brothers, a Manhattan jewelry shop on Fifth Avenue at 47th Street, which neighbors said had been run by the family for decades. He and his wife had been married for more than 50 years and had lived in the Fresh Meadows home for about 40 years, neighbors said.

In June, Anthony Grant, 46, and Suzanne Grant, 45, were found dead with gunshot wounds to their head in a Briarwood motel in what was also deemed a murder-suicide, police said. Police discovered their bodies in a room at the Best Western at 877 Van Wyck Expressway. Police would not say how the Grants were related.

A spokeswoman for the city medical examiner’s office said Suzanne Grant was shot in the head before Anthony Grant turned the gun on himself.

The drop in crime seen in the 107th mirrors a larger trend citywide. Major felony crimes in the city have declined for 19 years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said last week. There were 461 murders as of last week in the city, compared to 516 in 2008. Once all the statistics are compiled, the city is expecting to have fewer homicides in 2009 than any other year since comparable records were kept beginning in 1963.

“The numbers are staggering,” Bloomberg said. “Since 2001, we’ve driven murder down by 29 percent, rape down by 38 percent, robbery down by 34 percent and the list goes on.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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