safest for all crime

greenwich village & meatpacking district

Photo: Tiphanie Colon-Lamontanaro

6th precinct / population 62,226

How is it possible that one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in New York City — and one of the the most expensive — could have one of the worst crime rates in the city, second only to Midtown's property crime.

Just as the tree-lined streets and 19th-century townhouses of Greenwich Village have increasingly drawn new wealthy residents, so too have they — and the area's commercial strips, especially near New York University and Christopher Street — become a magnet for thieves. The neighborhood, which also includes the nightclub-heavy area of the Meatpacking District, ranks 68th out of 69 in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report for overall crime, for property crime and for grand larceny categories.

The good news, though, is that property crime rates in the 6th Precinct, which covers the area, are trending downward, except for car thefts, which jumped 18 percent in 2010, to 45. Still, the area ranks 14th for this category. Burglaries fell by 24 percent, to 176, and grand larcencies were down 4 percent, to 1,053. Long-term trends show even more significant improvements, with overall crime down 71 percent from 1993 to 2010 and steep declines in car thefts (94 percent) and burglaries (78 percent) over that period. When the focus is on violent crimes, Greenwich Village fares better, ranking 32nd, but recent trends are troubling.

One cause for concern is rape. The 6th Precinct is one of only three precincts in the city that has seen an increase in violent sexual assaults from 1993 to 2010. The 13 reported rapes in 2010 represent a 44 percent increase over the nine reported in 2009, a 160 percent over the five in 2008 and is one more than reported in 1993. The area ranks 51st for that crime.

Murders, however, have historically been low and remain so, with just one committed in 2010 and in many of the years since 1993. Robberies saw a slight upstick in 2010, by just under 1 percent, to 148, and were down 21 percent from 2008 to 2010. The felony assault rate was the only violent crime category that improved in 2010, declining 11 percent, to 94 incidents; but even this could reverse itself, as physical attacks in Greenwich Village, including some hate crimes against gay men, seem to be on the rise.