Richard Brown, the borough’s district attorney, announced that the level of serious crime in Queens fell once again in 2009, continuing its “historic decline” since he took office nearly 19 years ago.
Last year in Queens County robbery was down 14.5 percent, grand larceny was down 11.4 percent, burglaries dropped by 8.5 percent, and rape declined by 4.1 percent, according to police statistics. The only serious crime that saw an increase was felony assault (up a modest 1.8 percent).
Some 80 murders were committed in Queens in the past calendar year, a far cry from the 361 killings in 1991, the year Brown took office. Homicide was down 5 percent in 2009, making it the second best year since 1966, Brown said.
Overall, serious crime is down by almost 40 percent from 1991 levels.
“These figures serve as a stark reminder of the fact that the law enforcement initiatives and crime prevention policies that we began to put in place back in the early nineties continue to yield huge dividends for the people of Queens County,” Brown said in a statement.
Car thefts were down, too, something Brown credited to an aggressive crack down on chop shops, auto insurance fraud and “career auto thieves.”
He attributed the decrease in gun violence to a successful gun buyback program jointly funded by the Queens County District Attorney’s office and the NYPD.
“The gun buyback program was a huge success in terms of getting weapons off the street, and in avoiding the potentially devastating social and financial burden that each firearm could have taken in terms of the senseless loss of life or human suffering,” Brown said, adding that he expects another banner year in fighting crime in Queens.
“I am optimistic that by continuing the very successful strategies that we have employed in recent years we, together with our law enforcement colleagues, can make Queens County even safer in 2010,” he added.