safest for all crime

fort greene & clinton hill

Photo: Tiphanie Colon-Lamontanaro

88th precinct / population 51,421

Fort Greene felt like an urban outpost when filmmaker Spike Lee and actress Rosie Perez moved into the neighborhood a couple of decades ago. No more. The brownstone neighborhood has been completely transformed like few others in recent years, turning a once-sketchy area into a well-heeled redoubt of young professionals, African-American entrepreneurs and European newcomers.

French bistros and sidewalk cafes have sprouted where muggers and drug dealers once lurked and a main thoroughfare was dubbed "Murder Avenue." Today, brownstones along the once-frightening Fort Greene Park command $3 million price tags. Crime has plunged in the 88th Precinct, which includes Fort Greene and neighboring Clinton Hill, a long-term development that undoubtedly allowed the area to thrive.

Major crimes dropped 72 percent from 1993 to 2010, with robberies down 80 percent and burglaries 83 percent. Despite the progress, the 88th Precinct is still near the bottom of DNAinfo.com's per capita crime ranking of New York neighborhoods, with 223 major crimes per 10,000 residents. The push of gentrification has not erased crime, as the lowly rank of 64th safest neighborhood attests.

This could be explained by its relatively low population and the presence of pockets of danger, such as public housing developments. These neighborhoods abut Bedford-Stuyvesant, which ranks only two places higher, at 62nd of 69 neighborhoods, in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report.

Fort Greene & Clinton Hill rank 55th for violent crimes — murders, rapes, robberies and felony assaults — with 75 incidents per 10,000 residents. Robberies were up 21 percent in 2010, from 196 to 237 incidents, fueled by a rise in muggings; and murders doubled that year, from three to six. The neighborhoods rank a dismal 63rd for property crimes — burglary, grand larceny and car theft — and the combination of violent and property crimes is enough to spark uneasiness on these leafy streets where fear once reigned.