safest for all crime
73rd precinct / population 86,468
It's official: Brownsville is the murder capital of New York. The hardscrabble Brooklyn neighborhood, with the unofficial motto "Never ran, never will," that's wedged between Prospect Heights & Crown Heights and East Flatbush is also at the bottom of the barrel for robberies and shootings. Once home to Jewish immigrants (Larry King grew up here), Brownsville took a turn for the worse in the 1960s, and the neighborhood's relative isolation and lack of parks and quality housing has left the deck stacked against it.
With bullets flying faster than anywhere else in the city, the 73rd Precinct recorded 28 murders in 2010, a 33 percent increase from 2009, for 3 killings per 10,000 residents, placing it dead last among the 69 neighborhoods for that category in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report, which ranks neighborhoods based on per capita crime. Brownsville also had 10 shootings incidents per 10,000 residents, far outpacing even other crime-plagued neighborhoods.
Despite these setbacks, things have improved over time in the neighborhood where boxer Mike Tyson grew up dodging bullets and honing his street-fighting skills on Amboy Street. From 1993 to 2010, murders dropped 62 percent, robberies 78 percent and car thefts 79 percent, leading the way to an overall reduction in major crimes by 67 percent.
Robbery continued its decline from 2008 to 2010, by 16 percent, to 500 incidents. Reported rapes were down 5 percent in 2010, to 35, but that figure is 21 percent higher than in 2008. Felony assault and grand larceny remained steady, declining by less that 1 percent each.
Neighbors, though, say jobs are tough to find, and poverty is hard to root out in an area with the highest concentration of public housing in the city. The total number of major crimes inched down in 2010, but the neighborhood is still fourth from the bottom in the overall citywide rankings. Until the killing stops and the gunfire dies down, no one is going to write the story of Brownsville's recovery just yet.
Increase in murders from 2009 to 2010
Reduction in total crimes, 1993 to 2010
Photo: Getty/NY Daily News Archive
NYPD Patrolman Robert Denton, 26, was in uniform when he pulled up outside a bodega on the corner of Saratoga and Blake avenues, in Brownsville, at about 2 a.m. on July 24, 1971. Richard Lloyd Dennis (pictured, right) stopped and asked him how to become a police officer. After a brief conversation, Denton ducked into the bodega. When he stepped outside, Dennis, dressed in a leather vest and wielding a hunting knife, slashed Denton's throat. Witnesses chased Dennis, and the police cornered him in the lobby of a nearby building. Denton died a short time later at Brookdale Hospital. Dennis was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
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