Today’s news:

Murders rise in 114th Pct.

The NYPD’s 114th Precinct had a spike in the number of murders last year, with nine people killed, but the number of crimes overall still recorded a slight drop as of Dec. 26, according to crime statistics.

Compared to recent years, the number of homicides in 2010 was unusually high for the precinct, which encompasses the neighborhoods of Astoria, Astoria Houses, Ravenswood Houses, Queensbridge Houses and the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City. In 2009 the precinct had four murders and five back in 2001. The area has also seen a general declines in slayings since 1990, when 30 murders occurred.

One of the first deaths occurred early in the year, when a 62-year-old Brooklyn livery cab driver named Jaroslaw Bielawski was shot and left in his car near where he worked on 11th Street in Long Island City. Police arrested 32-year-old Gregory Johnson and 22-year-old Auther Lattan, both of Brooklyn, for allegedly committing the crime in April.

A month later, 22-year-old Kalif Canady, who lived in the Astoria Houses, was shot and killed while getting ready to move out of his apartment. No arrests had been made in the shooting as of press time Tuesday.

A slaying at the end of March also occurred at a public housing site. In Queensbridge, two Brooklyn residents — Magin Rifas, 31, and Christina Rosario, 23 — were arraigned on charges of murder, attempted burglary, attempted robbery and weapons possession when they allegedly killed 32-year-old Michael Martin from Pine Bush and shot two others in an alleged attempt to steal from apartments in Queensbridge, according to the Queens district attorney.

In May, 34-year-old Stefan Middleton was also shot in Queensbridge. In 2010, police arrested 21-year-old Lashawn Battle of West Sayville, L.I., and 44-year-old Anthony Johnson of Long Island City in connection with the crime. On Monday police arrested Kyle Rivera, a third suspect in the incident.

In July, a reputed member of the Hells Angels, 41-year-old John Giampetruzzi of Long Island, was found dead on 28th Street between Ditmars Boulevard and 21st Avenue with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. No arrests have been made.

Two murders also occurred outside clubs in the 114th Precinct over a 25-hour period during a weekend in November. On Broadway in Astoria, 29-year-old Bronx resident Derrick Moore was shot and killed in front of the RSVP Lounge. No arrests had yet been made in this incident. The next day, Flushing resident Brahim Passad, 26, got into a dispute with Brooklyn resident Jose Soto, 25, who stabbed him outside the club, police said. Soto was later arrested.

Within the 114th Precinct, incidents of crime decreased by almost 1 percent overall compared to Dec. 26, 2009, with 2,021 occurring in 2009 and 2,004 occurring in 2010.´╗┐

Rapes took the largest drop, almost 32 percent, with 15 occurring´╗┐ compared to 22 at the same point in 2009. Grand larceny also decreased by about 14 percent, with 738 incidents occurring in 2009 and 636 incidents occurring last year.

Other types of crime recorded small increases compared to Dec. 26, 2009. Robberies jumped almost 8 percent, with 307 occurring in 2009 and 331 in 2010. There were nearly 4 percent more burglaries last year, 478 compared to 460 in 2009. Felony assaults increased by almost 3 percent: 262 occurring in 2009 and 269 occurred in 2010. Grand larceny auto also rose by almost 16 percent, with 261 incidents last year compared to 2009’s 226.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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