Crime Down, But Drugs, Graffiti Persist

At a recent meeting of the 52nd Precinct Community Council, Deputy Inspector James Alles, the Precinct’s commanding officer, announced that, unlike the rest of New York City, crime is down in the Five-Two in the first half of 2008.

Compared to last year, murder is down 57 percent (three this year, down from seven last year), rape 23.5 percent (13, down from 17 last year), and car thefts 25.4 percent (114, down from 153). Grand larceny, the theft of more than $250 in property, is the only crime category on the rise (up to 324 this year, from 312 last year).

By comparison, murders are up 23.2 percent boroughwide (69 murders this year, up from 56 last year) and 8.2 percent citywide (250 murders this year, up from 231 last year).

It’s a complete turnaround from last year, when Alles, then just months into his new post at the 52nd Precinct, was grappling with a sharp uptick in violent crime, including several shooting incidents.

Still, residents at the meeting complained that graffiti and open drug dealing remain huge problems in certain neighborhoods. Alles said the 52nd Precinct leads the Bronx in both graffiti and drug busts, but that it’s impossible for them to completely stop either practice.

“We are not going to eliminate drugs, but what we will do is try to minimize it,” Alles said.

He also warned that, with summer coming, crime traditionally picks up along with the heat. The Five-Two will gain 24 new cops from the most recent class of Police Academy graduates, but may lose a big chunk of its current crop of 70 rookies who were patrolling the Precinct’s Impact Zones.      —Alex Kratz

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