There’s good news and bad news for crime in the Bronx.
Despite last year’s dramatic headlines of shootings and murders, both took a downward turn, while other stubborn violent crimes inched up.
The numbers, locally and citywide have raised concern that crime reduction has finally bottomed out, going as low as it can go.
But in all cases. the actual numbers were the lowest the borough has seen in decades.
Murders were down 24.3%, with 112 killings, compared to 148 in 2011, while shooting victims dropped from 535 in 2011 to 494 last year – a 7.7% decrease.
Rape, robberies and felony assaults were up 6.6%, 3% and 7.7% respectively.
Police attribute the drop in murders and shootings in part to police and federal agencies taking down a number of local violent drug gangs.
But obviously, high profile murders and shootings, such as the death of 4-year-old Lloyd Morgan and wounding of other innocents by stray bullets drew big headlines and community outrage.
And Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s controversial stop-and-frisk (seemingly always missing the “question” part in the middle) is still hotly debated as a significant crime deterrent or a community relations disaster.
If hard numbers are any help in judging the worth of the program, while gun seizures were down 4.7% citywide, they were up 13.3% in the borough, from 757 in 2011 to 858 weapons taken off Bronx streets last year.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has mixed feelings, opposing the stop & frisk program “as it is currently constituted.”
“Not all stops are misused, but many are,” he said. “I prefer a return to a ‘stop, question & frisk’ program as we had in the past, as it would provide for greater investigation by our police prior to physical contact.”
But he’s serious about fighting the continuing violence and the role seemingly countless available guns play in it.
He called the drop in shootings “a good first step, but we have much more work ahead of us.”
It is those neighborhoods in need of rebuilding, with their poverty, despair and drugs, where crime is most stubborn.
Four of the borough’s 12 precincts – the 43rd in Soundview, 44th in Highbridge, 52nd in Fordham/Bedford Park and 47th in Wakefield/Williamsbridge – were in the top ten of the city’s 76 precincts for crime complaints last year.
The 43rd Precinct ranked first in the city for murders, with 18 victims. Seven other Bronx houses were in the top 20 for murders.
Borough precincts were also consistently among the top 20 in the city for various other major crimes, with eight of them in the top 17 for shooting victims.
Some of the quietest precincts were in working and middle class neighborhoods – with the 49 in Morris Park/Allerton and the 45 in Throggs Neck/Co-op City falling mid-way for complaints among the city’s 76 precincts, and Riverdale/Kingsbridge 50th Precinct ranked 62nd.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3393