safest for all crime
61st precinct / population 159,645
Sheepshead Bay has long prided itself on being the place where Brooklyn first meets the water. Before you get to the crowded beaches of Coney Island & Brighton Beach, there are the calmer waters of Jamaica Bay, which first drew people to this section of south Brooklyn. As many have been lured there by the relatively easy subway access to Manhattan, the neighborhood has lost its backwater feel in recent years with new condos sprouting up and even mini-McMansions rising incongruously in spots.
It's also grown much more diverse over the years, with many new immigrants and the fourth-largest Chinatown in the city (after lower Manhattan, Flushing and Sunset Park). The area is covered by the 61st Precinct, which stretches from Midwood's southern border to the affluent Manhattan Beach section, on the Atlantic Ocean.
The precinct placed near the top in almost every major category in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report, with just 69 major crimes per 10,000 residents in 2010, securing the 5th safest spot overall for per capita crime. Despite a few high-profile incidents, the crime rate continued to drop steadily since 1993.
Total crime fell by a healthy 15 percent between 2009 and 2010, paced by a 20 percent drop in robberies, a 20 percent drop in burglaries and a 21 percent dip in felony assaults. Car theft did jump 15 percent, leaving Sheepshead Bay at the No. 32 spot for that category. Still, car theft was down by 94 percent from 1993 to 2010, quite an achievement given the neighborhood's easy access to the Belt Parkway, which could attract thieves looking for a quick getaway.
Increase in murders, 2009 to 2010
Decrease in major crimes, 2009 to 2010
For 28 hours, Maksim Gelman (pictured) was New York's worst nightmare. The 23-year-old man's murderous rampage started in his mother's Sheepshead Bay apartment on Feb. 11, 2011, where he stabbed her boyfriend and fled. He went to his girlfriend's home nearby, where he killed her mother first, then waited to ambush her. Leaving more bloodshed behind, Gelman stole a car and mowed down a pedestrian crossing the street. Cops launched a massive manhunt after he fled into the subway and was spotted in Manhattan on a downtown No. 1 train. "Can you believe what they're writing about me?" he asked, as he knocked a newspaper out of a woman's hand. At 34th Street he jumped over to an uptown No. 3 train and stabbed a male straphanger before being arrested in Times Square.
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