safest for all crime
79th/81th precinct / population 152,985
They don't call it "Do or Die" Bed-Stuy for nothing. The stomping grounds of rapper Jay Z, with streets that became a national symbol for urban violence during the 1980s, may be significantly safer today than they were 20 years ago, but the neighborhood placed near the bottom of the DNAinfo.com list of safest neighborhoods, at 62nd out of 69 for per capita crime, with 212 serious crimes per 10,000 residents. It also is only 20th out of 22 neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The 79th and 81st precincts, which cover the area, combined to be near the bottom for murders, too, behind only Prospect Heights & Crown Heights and Brownsville.
Still, still total crime has plunged nearly two-thirds since the crack-filled 1980s, with reported incidents dropping from more than 6,800 in 1993 to 3238 in 2010. Bed-Stuy is now a draw for homeowners looking for serenity in its stately 1880s brownstones and it is a hip magnet for young African-Americans with a realtor-inspired name to boot: Stuyvesant Heights.
Worrying old and new residents alike, though, is the fact that crime definitely has been on the rebound in the neighborhood, with overall crime rate up 6 percent in 2010. The area also ranks 67th for violent crimes, led by increases in both precincts for this category in 2010.
Robberies spiked in the 79th, from 375 to 433, and rose in the 81st Precinct, from 327 to 353. Murders were down 20 percent in the 79th, from 15 to 12, but they were up 31 percent in the 81st, from 13 to 17, near where it was a decade ago. Rapes rose 51 percent for the combined areas, from 35 to 53. Felony assaults skyrocketed 32 percent in the 81st, from 247 to 327, but dipped 9 percent in the 79th, from 463 to 422.
Things look a little better for property crimes, for which Bed-Stuy ranks 53rd, but this category ticked up nearly 3 percent in 2010. Car thefts dropped a combined 13 percent, to 203, but this was offset by a 7 percent jump in grand larceny to 765, and a 3 percent increase in burglaries, to 653. All the neighborhood's new cafes won't mean much if it slides back toward danger.
Increase in rapes from 2009 to 2010
Decrease in major crimes 1993 to 2010
Photo: James Messerschmidt
She joined the list of New York's littlest victims on Jan. 11, 1996. Nixzmary Brown, a big-eyed 7-year-old, weighed just 36 pounds when she was found beaten to death inside her apartment. Her stepfather called her a "troublemaker" and admitted punishing the little girl for transgressions like stealing yogurt from the family's well-stocked fridge. He tied her to a chair, beat her and eventually slammed her head into the bathtub. The girl's mom stood by, later claiming she was too scared to do anything. The horror of this episode forced big changes in the city's child welfare system after it was revealed that case workers had failed to notice the obvious signs of abuse.
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