It has been a rough year for 90th Precinct, where crime is up 18 percent from its levels of June 2007.
There have been 758 “major index” crimes this year – crimes taken into account when calculating a city’s crime rate – up from 644 at this time last year.
The biggest culprits in the crime uptick have been grand larcenies, up 42 percent, and robberies, up 21 percent.
In the past month, robberies are up 12 percent from the corresponding period last year.
Recently, these robberies have been concentrated in an area roughly bounded by Boerum Street, Leonard Street, Broadway and Humboldt Street, according to Deputy Inspector John Corbisiero, the Precinct’s commanding officer.
Last month, the problem area was a few blocks north in an area roughly bounded by Scholes Street and Manhattan, Johnson and Graham avenues.
“It shifted a little bit,” Corbisiero said, who added that the perpetrators in this area tend to be teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18.
Most of these robberies have been force robberies, according to Corbisiero.
“They’re walking up from behind and grabbing somebody, maybe punching them and stealing their stuff. They use the term ‘yoke,’” he said.
According to Corbisiero, the hot item on the street is the T-Mobile Sidekick, a hand-held cell phone with Internet and multi-media capability.
“There’s a considerable aftermarket – you can ‘roll’ it and get money for it really quick. So we’re looking for any locations that would buy these sidekicks. We welcome any information,” he said.
For the first few months of this year, many robberies had been concentrated on Williamsburg’s Southside, in an area bounded by Broadway and Metropolitan, Driggs, and Union avenues.
In response, Brooklyn North Patrol command allocated to the precinct 128 freshly minted Police Academy graduates – or 42 per shift – on April 14 to flood the area.
These new cops helped contribute to a 37 percent crime reduction in the problem area as of last month.
Now, Corbisiero is looking to deploy some of these Police Academy graduates to the new hot-spot. He recently submitted a proposal to the office of the Police Commissioner and is awaiting approval.
The rise in grand larcenies has been driven by unattended property in bars and cars, according to Corbisiero.
Corbisiero said the ever-increasing popularity of Williamsburg as a nightlife destination has led to more thefts in bars.
To combat these thefts, he has stationed officers outside bars to check for suspicious behavior. The 90th Precinct has also designed a safety tip-sheet which it distributes to bar owners to display for their patrons.
As for thefts out of cars, Corbisiero stressed that there are too many people leaving valuable property in plain view of potential criminals.
Many people take the extra safety measure of moving their valuables to their trunk. But Corbisiero suggested those people should do this before they park, and not after.
“You’re basically telling anyone who’s watching that you have a laptop in your trunk. It becomes a crime of opportunity,” he said.
As always, Corbisiero pleaded for people to report crimes shortly after they happen, which vastly increases cops’ chances of catching perpetrators.
“One of the biggest problems we face is that we’re still getting a big delay in the reports. It will be 10 a.m. and someone will report a crime that happened the evening before. We need this information quickly if you want us to catch the guy,” he said.
As crime has stayed high, precinct cops have frantically tried to keep pace.
On the year, they have made 104 arrests for robberies, compared to 84 at this time last year.
They have made 45 arrests for grand larceny, compared to 31 at this time last year.
In terms of other crimes, there has been one murder in the precinct this year, the same as last year at this time; four rapes in the precinct, down from six at this time last year; 86 felonious assaults, up 5 percent from 82 at this time last year; 143 burglaries, up 7.5 percent from 133 at this time last year; and 71 auto thefts, down 12 percent from 81 at this time last year.