safest for all crime


34th precinct / population 112,375

Inwood, Manhattan's northernmost area, is perhaps the borough's least-known neighborhood, but that's changing. It now increasingly attracts young families and professionals drawn to its open spaces. That's sparked a small but growing restaurant and bar scene along Dyckman Street. Major crime in the 34th Precinct, which includes the neighborhood and the northern half of Washington Heights, has plummeted by 83 percent in the 17 years to 2010, turning Inwood from one of the most dangerous areas in the city into one of the safest. It ranks 23rd out of 69 neighborhoods in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report. In Manhattan, only the Upper East Side and Upper West Side rank higher.

The most exceptional declines have been in car thefts, down 95 percent to 97 incidents from 1993 to 2010, and in burglaries, down 90 percent to 190 during that period. Shooting incidents and murders were down by more than 90 percent, to nine and four, respectively. These lower rates were largely due to the turnaround that began with police crackdowns on the notorious Dominican drug gangs in Inwood and neighboring Washington Heights. Another factor was the increasing popularity of the neighborhood among New Yorkers seeking to escape to quieter, leafier, more affordable neighborhoods without giving up access to the core of Manhattan. In the past few years, as more people have moved into the neighborhood and local commercial strips have become more lively, certain crimes have spiked, however.

There have been rashes of muggings and other attacks near Isham Park and outside subway stations in the neighborhood, prompting outcries for more police and talk of creating citizen foot patrols.

While Inwood ranks highly for property crimes, rising to 17th safest in the city, violent crime contines to be a key issue, with the neighborhood's rank dropping to 37th for that category. Murders, rapes, robberies and felony assaults were all up in both 2009 and 2010. In 2010, rapes jumped 29 percent, to 22 incidents, and misdemeanor sex crimes rose 24 percent, to 26. Continued steep drops in burglaries and car thefts, though, pushed the overall crime rate down by 3 percent.