safest for all crime
47th precinct / population 152,374
There are two ways to look at the crime statistics for Eastchester and the other neighborhoods of the 47th Precinct, which lie in the northernmost section of the Bronx. You can take the long view and feel pretty optimistic. From 1993 to 2010, the overall crime rate was down an impressive 69 percent in Eastchester, Wakefield, Williamsbridge and Woodlawn. That includes an 80 percent drop in burglaries and a 78 percent decline in car theft.
Or you can focus on what has happened lately and come to a very different conclusion. A 4 percent increase in overall crime from 2009 to 2010 earned this area a rank of 35th safest for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report. Murders rose by 28 percent, to 23 from 18 between 2009 and 2010, and rapes jumped 61 percent, from 23 to 37. It's not just violent crime that's a problem, though. The neighborhoods rank 67th of 69 in per capita car thefts, led by a 16 percent rise in the total rate in 2010 to 359 incidents from 309. Grand larcenies were up that year 5 percent, to 309 from 294, and robberies 2 percent, to 437 from 429.
Unlike other crime-plagued parts of the city, the four neighborhoods covered by the 47th Precinct have a largely suburban feel, with trees, lawns and free-standing homes, similar to neighboring Westchester County.
The area has attracted people from across the city and the world: East New Yorkers to Eastchester, Jamaicans to Williamsbridge, the Irish to Woodlawn. Even with the crime spikes, Eastchester is rated fourth safest for grand larcenies per resident on 2010 figures.
The NYPD has poured officers into the area. But some residents say there are still too many people gathering on street corners and selling drugs, even after Christopher Coke, a Jamaican drug lord, was arrested in 2010 (see below).
Increase in reported rapes, 2009 to 2010
Drop in major crimes, 1993 to 2010
Photo: Flickr/BBC World Service
For more than a decade, a massive drug- and gun-smuggling ring operated in Eastchester under the leadership of Jamaica's drug kingpin Christopher Coke, authorities say. Coke's workers allegedly moved tons of marijuana and crack into the United States and sold it on the streets of Eastchester, as well as in the Rosedale section of Queens. They used the profits to buy guns, which they allegedly shipped back to Coke's Tivoli Gardens neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica.
When Coke was indicted in 2010, he became the target of a manhunt that sparked running gun battles between Jamaican police and armed residents of Tivoli Gardens (pictured). Dozens died before Coke was arrested on June 22, 2010, wearing a woman's wig while at a checkpoint in Kingston, which had been placed under a state of emergency while authorities searched for the drug lord. He was extradited to the United States and was awaiting trial in New York in 2011.
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