safest for all crime

Windsor Terrace & Sunset Park

Greenwood Heights

Photo: Tiphanie Colon-Lamontanaro

72nd precinct / population 126,230

Windsor Terrace, a traditionally working-class neighborhood that borders the southwest side of Prospect Park, today has more in common with its upscale neighbor Park Slope than with Sunset Park, with which it shares the 72nd Precinct. Real estate values in Windsor Terrace have soared as young families seeking the Park Slope life with park views have moved in.

Sunset Park was carved out of the northern part of Bay Ridge and the southern section of what was then known as South Brooklyn, with help from federal revitalization money, in 1964. The neighborhood saw spikes in crime, drug use and poverty in the 1980s, but began to turn around in the 1990s as the economy improved. Today, immigrants from Latin American countries make up more than half the population, while Asians (mostly Chinese) comprise nearly a third. In the middle is gentrifying Greenwood Heights, named for the landmark Green-Wood Cemetery, which it borders.

Serious crime in the 72nd Precinct dropped 72 percent in the 17 years to 2010, with car thefts down 88 percent and burglaries off by 79 percent. Overall, the area earned a respectable 16th place for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report, and is the fifth safest neighborhood in Brooklyn, with 95 incidents per 10,000 residents.

In most categories, the area ranks in or close to the top third of the city. The exceptions are murder (40th) and rape (34th). Even though murders were down from eight to seven in 2010, that number is 17 percent higher than in 2001. Grand larceny has been on the rise (31 percent) since then, too, and it was up 10 percent in 2010, to 372. Even more troubling: reported rapes were up 82 percent, from 11 in 2009 to 20 in 2010, which also represented a 186 percent jump since 2008. Robberies were also up in 2010, by 11 percent, from 226 to 251. Only felony assaults and car thefts declined last year, but not enough to keep the overall crime rate from ticking up by nearly 3 percent.

Part of the blame lies with street gangs, previously in decline but on the rise again in the past decade. After two double murders in three weeks in 2009, the local police commander appealed to parents to watch for signs that their children were in a gang. The crackdown appears to have worked, with gang and gun busts up significantly since then.