safest for all crime
48th precinct / population 83,266
Belmont is regarded by many as New York's true Little Italy, with the markets and restaurants of Arthur Avenue as the main commercial artery. Perhaps because of its tightly knit community, or because of its lingering mob elements, the area has always been considered among the Bronx's safest, at least when it comes to ordinary street crime.
As a local precinct captain famously told a reporter in 1981, "If you want to make trouble, don't go to Belmont, or you'll wind up losing." That year, "New York" magazine named it as one of the city's safest neighborhoods.
Yet Belmont and neighboring Bathgate, which share the 48th Precinct, rank a dismal 56th out of 69 neighborhoods, with a total of 179 crimes per 10,000 residents. There were 5 murders in 2010, giving Belmont and Bathgate a citywide rank for murders of 41st place. There were 20 rapes in 2010; 400 robberies; and 368 felony assaults; and the neighborhoods are the the city's fifth worst area for major violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery and felony assaults).
While the total crime rate has dropped by 66 percent from 1993 to 2010, it is clear that there is work to be done in reducing violent crime, and property crime.
The neighborhoods rank 45th overall for property crimes — burglary, grand larceny and grand theft auto — although the rates in those categories dropped from 1993 to 2010 by 81 percent, 31 percent and 80 percent respectively.
Both neighborhoods have continued to evolve. Historically low-income Bathgate, which is the home of Crotona Park, is undergoing something of a revival. Belmont has diversified in recent decades. The neighborhood was originally populated by Italian immigrants who helped build the Bronx Zoo, but now Spanish can be heard on its streets almost as often as Italian.
Robbery increase from 2008 to 2010
Total crime reduction from 1993 to 2010
Photo: NY Daily News
On Feb. 16, 2011, a couple posing as customers were buzzed inside Spinelli & Son Jewelers on Arthur Avenue in the heart of the Bronx's Little Italy. They ordered the owner, Anthony Spinelli, to open his safe, at gunpoint. Spinelli pulled out a licenced handgun and chased them out of the store and down the street. As they ran, Spinelli shot their waiting accomplice in the leg. The failed robbery was hailed as evidence of Belmont residents' determination to protect themselves against criminals and their neighborhood against urban rot. The robbers were caught, and Spinelli was not charged.
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