ASTORIA — The 114th Precinct has added 10 cops to area streets in recent weeks, helping to slightly reverse a yearlong trend of rising crime.
Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi said at a recent community council meeting that the extra cops have gone a long way toward making the area safer.
“In the last four to six weeks, we’ve been seeing a steady reduction in crime,” he said.
During the most recent 28-day period for which the NYPD has statistics, there were four fewer robberies compared to last year. The number of area burglaries are also down 15 percent, records show.
Overall, crime was down nearly 15 percent compared to the same 28-day period last year, Cirabisi said.
Cirabisi said he's happy to have more cops, but he's worried that the extra help is still not enough because the precinct is "constantly losing people” to attrition. The precinct, which had about 300 cops in 2001, now has about 160, according to City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., chairman of the council's public safety committee.
“I’m hoping that in January, when the next group comes out of Police Academy, maybe we’ll get some more (officers),” Cirabisi said.
Crime in the 114th Precinct, which covers Astoria and parts of Long Island City, had been steadily rising since 2011. Overall, reported crime is up more than 5 percent from last year, NYPD data shows.
“It’s still substantial, but much better than where we were,” Cirabisi said.
The early part of 2012 showed a "very large increase in crime," he said.
There were seven murders in the precinct between Jan. 1 and Nov. 25 of this year, compared to four last year during the same time period. Reported rapes are up 57 percent — there have been 41 this year, compared to 26 last year, NYPD statistics show.
Cops have investigated 623 grand larcenies this year, compared to 577 over the same period last year, an 8 percent increase. Burglaries have also gone up: There have been 416 break-ins this year compared to 402 last year, a 3.5 percent jump.
To combat the rise in crime, Cirabisi said he had been analyzing trends and moving resources around. He said the staff shakeup included changing shifts and having officers work when crimes most frequently occur.
The number of burglaries may jump again over the next month, cops warned.
"During holiday season we always see an increase in burglaries,” Officer John Glynn, the crime prevention expert at the 114th Precinct, told residents.
During the holiday shopping frenzy, people tend to buy more electronics like PlayStation, laptops and iPods, Glynn said.
“All these devices are being delivered now and the bad guys know that,” he said, advising residents to be extra cautious.
The majority of the precincts throughout the city will end the year with higher crime numbers than in 2011, Cirabisi said.
“Unfortunately we will be one of them,” he said. “But hopefully in 2013, we’ll start from scratch and we’ll do the best we can with the resources that we have.”