safest for all crime
43rd precinct / population 172,122
The 43rd Precinct has been the breeding ground of generations of street gangs, from the Black Spades in the 1960s to the "Sex Money Murder" set (or chapter) of the Bloods gang in the 1990s. More infamously, it is also where plainclothes officers killed an unarmed Amadou Diallo on Feb. 4, 1999. Diallo's death became a symbol of Mayor Rudolph Guiliani's policies to fight crime (see breakout below). But long after the mayor sent police to reclaim the many street corners and the abandoned buildings that had fallen into the hands of criminals, Soundview is still enjoying the improved safety.
Overall crime in the 43rd Precinct, which includes Soundview, Parkchester and Castle Hill, dropped 71 percent in the 17 years up to 2010. Murder and burglaries both declined by 80 percent in that time, and car thefts were down by 88 percent.
The crime rates in this part of the south-central Bronx once made it a place to avoid, but with the neighborhoods on the rebound, developers have built new homes, and young families and artists have begun moving in.
In some parts, residents say it almost feels like the suburbs, at least in comparison to how things used to be.
The overall crime rate continued to drop in 2010, by 5 percent. Reported rapes decreased 26 percent, to 35 incidents; car thefts fell 21 percent, to 253. Burglaries and grand larceny were each down slightly less than 10 percent. But crime remains a concern in the area. Murders, robberies and felony assaults all jumped slightly from 2009 to 2010, so the 2010 numbers earned the neighborhood a middling ranking of 36th out of the 69 neighborhoods in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report.
Increase in grand larceny, 2001 to 2010
Reduction in car thefts, 1993 to 2010
Photo: Facebook/Justice for Amadou Diallo
On Feb. 4, 1999, four plainclothes members of the NYPD's Street Crimes Unit approached 22-year-old Amadou Diallo (pictured) as he stood outside his apartment building, in Soundview. It was after midnight, and Diallo, who was black, had just returned home from his job as a vendor on 14th Street in Manhattan. The officers, all white, thought he was acting suspiciously and confronted him. Thinking he had a gun in his hand, they opened fire 41 times, hitting him with 19 bullets. As he lay dying, his wallet fell out of his hand. The shooting ignited a firestorm of protests against police and inspired Bruce Springsteen to write a song about the killing, "American Skin," also known as "41 Shots." It also led to a reorganization of the Street Crimes Unit, although the officers were acquitted of all criminal charges. Diallo's name still evokes the racially charged 1990s, when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was often at odds with the city's minority communities over his aggressive anti-crime tactics.
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