safest for all crime
Photo: Shayna Jacobs
49th precinct / population 114,712
This northeastern Bronx area is still struggling to rebound from the borough's late 20th-century descent into disorder and decay.
Known for its tree-lined main artery, Pelham Parkway is in the 49th Precinct, along with the smaller, relatively suburban-looking Baychester and Westchester Square. In the past couple of decades, a more diverse array of ethnic groups, including Albanians, have moved into the area.
Houses on the main thoroughfare have been spruced up, and residents boast of their close proximity to large green spaces. Those quality of life improvements are mirrored in the long-term crime trends. Crime in the 49th Precinct has dropped steeply during the 17 years from 1993 to 2010 — by 67 percent — with the most significant decline occurring in property crimes. Car theft has fallen by 88 percent in that time, grand larceny by 22 percent and burglary by 75 percent.
But things haven't been looking so good recently, mostly due to an alarming spike in violent crime. In the nine years to 2010, murders have doubled; shooting incidents have gone up by 238 percent; and rapes, robberies, and felony assaults have all increased.
From 2009 to 2010, shooting incidents increased from 17 to 27 instances, and reported rapes increased from 11 instances to 23. This violent crime increase in 2010 drove the overall crime rate up by nearly 6 percent from 2009, and earned Pelham Parkway and its surrounding neighborhoods the rank of 43rd safest for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report.
By contrast, property crime remained relatively stable, with little change in burglary, grand larceny or car theft between 2009 and 2010.
Rise in shooting incidents, 2001 to 2010
Drop in total crime from 1993 to 2010
Michael Vernon, 22, strolled into Little Chester Shoes on White Plains Road just south of Pelham Parkway, on Dec. 19, 1995, and asked the clerk for a pair of high-top boots. When told they didn't have his size, he pulled out a 16-shot, 9 MM pistol and fired, wounding eight people and killing five. Among those killed were Maria Carrasquillo, 38, and her two sons, Rafael, 11, and Ricky, 14. Vernon then grabbed a hostage and tried to escape, but was confronted on White Plains Road by an NYPD officer with a shotgun. During a gun battle, Vernon was shot in the groin. He was captured on Pelham Parkway still clutching the murder weapon. At his trial, an investigator recounted how Vernon calmly explained how he opened fire from the back of the store, working his way to the front, reaching behind and over counters to find his victims and assassinate them. Vernon also confessed to the November 1993 murder of cab driver Stephen Fineman, who was found shot dead in his cab on E. 229th Street. Vernon was convicted and received five consecutive life sentences.
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