Today’s news:

109th Pct. crime falls 5.6%

Major crime fell 5.7 percent in the 109th Precinct last year, the 19th largest drop in crime in all 76 city precincts, with major crimes like robbery and grand larceny experiencing double-digit plunges, according to unofficial year-end figures.

There were only four shootings, down from six in 2009.

But murders more than doubled in 2010, rapes surged 30.8 percent and burglaries increased by 16.3 percent, the numbers showed

The overall crime rate fell due to a combination of smart police work and community cooperation, Deputy Inspector Brian Maguire said.

“We need people to get involved in the community. The 109 can’t keep crime down by itself. It’s a partnership between the police and the community,” he said at a wrap-up briefing Tuesday afternoon. “The official book isn’t out yet ... but it looks like there are only 18 precincts with a better crime decrease than us.”

Murders rose from three in 2009 to seven last year, but Maguire said the majority of them started as nearly impossible to prevent domestic disputes between people without violent records who knew each other.

“In all those murders the people have either been arrested or we know who they are, so there’s no outstanding people,” he said. “Only two of the murders occurred between strangers.”

Domestic violence was a major problem throughout the precinct last year, and that was reflected in the rape figures as well. The number of rapes rose from 13 to 17 over 2009, according to the unofficial statistics, and 10 of last year’s rapes occurred between domestic partners or people who already knew one another.

Felony assaults, which rose 1 percent from 211 to 213 last year, were also often a result of domestic violence.

In response to the problem with domestic violence, the department is dedicating more resources to prevention.

“That’s something we watch closely. We expanded our domestic violence unit. We used to have two officers doing it, we now have three. We added a [Cantonese]-speaking woman to the unit,” Maguire said.

On the brighter side, robberies fell 23.9 percent from 276 to 210 in the 109th, grand larcenies dropped 15.6 percent from 808 to 682 and there were 290 incidences of grand larceny auto in both 2009 and 2010.

Robberies were a key priority of the department’s efforts this year, as shown by their precipitous drop.

“We act quickly to identify trends and patterns and when we have a robbery pattern we work very aggressively to target it,” Maguire said.

But burglaries remained a problem area for the department, and they jumped from 417 to 485 in 2010. Maguire recommended that people take simple steps like purchasing security cameras for homes and businesses, not carrying valuables, and reporting suspicious activity in order to help prevent crime.

“Burglaries have always been a problem in the 109th Precinct. They’ve been a problem for years and they’ll always be a problem here,” he said. “We’ve done very well making apprehensions as far as burglaries when we have video of the crimes.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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