safest for all crime
94th precinct / population 56,247
Greenpoint's waterfront location and proximity to Williamsburg and Manhattan made it an inevitable candidate for transformation during the past decade, when health food stores and coffee bars began to replace some of the old-time pierogi shops and Polish taverns on the main drag, Nassau Street. The neighborhood's long-term major crime rate was down 73 percent from 1993 to 2010, with an 84 percent drop in car thefts, to 147, leading the decline. In 2010, the historically safe neighborhood's 94th Precinct was one of just four in the city to enjoy a murder-free year. It also tied for the least number of reported rapes, at two.
Still, that decline has slowed considerably, and Greenpoint's relative isolation could account for the neighborhood's recent spike in overall crime, to 905 incidents in 2010 compared with 845 in 2009, a 7 percent increase, and for its disappointing 50th place out of 69 neighborhoods for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's safety ranking of New York's neighborhoods, with 161 crimes per 10,000 residents. Much of the jump was due to property crime. Greenpoint registered only a 7 percent dip in major crimes from 2001 to 2010, rather than the double-digit drops seen in 66 other neighborhoods. That was thanks to its increases in grand larcenies — up a stunning 78 percent since 2001 — and burglaries, which also climbed during that period.
From 2009 to 2010, burglaries rose by 10 percent, to 243, and car thefts soared 21 percent, to 147 instances, landing Greenpoint second from last for each category.
The neighborhood does better when it comes to violent crime, ranking 26th for that category in 2010. Even though murders and rapes remained low, robberies jumped by 11 percent, to 132, and felony assaults were up by 3 percent, to 73. Shooting incidents doubled in 2010, from three to six. Reports of transit crimes spiked 143 percent, from seven to 17.
Transit crimes rise from 2009 to 2010
Drop in reported rapes from 2008 to 2010
Photo: Getty/NY Daily News Archive
The 15 buildings that made up the historic Greenpoint Terminal Market site burned on May 2, 2006, in a spectacular and suspicious 10-alarm fire. Fingers initially pointed to owner Joshua Guttman. Guttman owned another building that had burned in a suspicious fire in DUMBO two years prior, but he had been cleared of any connection to that case and cooperated in its investigation.
Zoning for the Greenpoint Terminal Market had been switched to residential in 2005, and Guttman saw the value of his 2001 $25 million investment skyrocket. But while negotiations for a $420 million sale were still going on, the Municipal Art Society recommended landmark status for the terminal. Shortly thereafter the deal fell through. Then the fire happened. Once again, Guttman was cleared of suspected arson. On June 7, police arrested Leszek Kuczera, a homeless, alcoholic Polish immigrant, for starting one of the largest fires in New York history while he tried to melt the insulation off a copper wire. He was deported to Poland in 2009 and is now sober. The Greenpoint Terminal Market site remains a wasteland.
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