UPPER EAST SIDE — One of Manhattan's richest neighborhoods has seen a spike in major crimes this year, with rape and grand larceny on the rise.
Reported felonies from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 have swelled nearly 16 percent compared to the same period last year, according to statistics recently released by the neighborhood's 19th Precinct.
The uptick was led by increases in rape and grand larceny, which rose 36.4 percent and 20.5 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. Fifteen rapes have occurred so far this year in the precinct — as many as were recorded in all of 2011, statistics show.
Burglaries were also up by 6.7 percent for the year, and felony assaults were up 8.4 percent.
However, robbery was down slightly less than 1 percent — with 102 reported so far in 2012, compared to 103 for the same time period last year.
Murders were also down, with no recorded so far this year compared to two for the same time period last year.
Mary Smith, a 71-year-old photographer, said she remembered when New York's streets were lawless and feared that crime might run rampant again.
"We thought everything was better than years ago," said the 50-year neighborhood resident.
Pedro Rodriguez, who has worked as a maintenance man on the Upper East Side for some 20 years, said he was surprised by the crime spike.
"The increase," he said, "that's a really bad thing."
The upswing in the Upper East Side fit into a similar trend across New York City, which could face a 20-percent increase across all five boroughs, reports showed.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has attributed the increase in crime to iPhone thefts.