Diverse Enclaves Have Stark Safety Contrasts

From the small-town feel of Douglaston and Little Neck to the old-world charm of planned communities such as Sunnyside Gardens and Forest Hills Gardens, Queens has long been a suburb within a city. And nowadays, even in the semi-urban areas with burgeoning immigrant communities, such as Flushing or Jackson Heights, the borough continues to enjoy a low crime rate to rival any Nassau County town, despite containing the geographical heart of New York City. It's a borough where music legends Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis once lived. Now hipsters worship the sun at The Rockaways, and artists flock to Long Island City.

Most Queens neighborhoods ranked highly in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report, with nine of its 15 neighborhoods ranking in the top 20. That's a far cry from the early 1990s, at the height of the crack epidemic, when the borough racked up nearly 300 murders — three times the amount in 2010 — as well as 17,000 muggings, which breaks down to nearly 50 per day.


Drop in reported rapes, 2009 to 2010


Increase in murders, 2009 to 2010

The exceptions are Jamaica & Hollis, which is ranked 51st of 69 overall, and 59th for violent crimes, with 857 incidents in 2010, and St. Albans & South Jamaica, which is ranked 55th overall, and 51st for violent crimes, with 765 incidents in 2010. Overall crime in the latter neighborhood, however, was down 76 percent in the 17 years since 1993, and violent crime has fallen sharply. The same is true for Jamaica & Hollis, although murder in that area shot up by 36 percent from 2009 to 2010.

Property crimes, especially car thefts, continue to plague the borough. In 2010, car theft ticked up after years of decline, and Queens was home to the most car thefts in the city that year. Even with a drop-off of more than 90 percent since the early 90s, the borough still had 3,502 stolen cars in 2010, more than a third of the city's total.

Queens has become extraordinarily diverse with more than 100 languages spoken and many of its residents foreign-born. With that, however, it has seen its share of hate crimes, including attacks on Sikhs in Richmond Hill and an anti-gay attack in Woodhaven. Howard Beach, which is ranked 23rd in violent crimes and 26th overall, was the site of two infamous racial attacks. In 1986, a black teen was chased into traffic and killed, and in 2005, Nicholas "Fat Nick" Minucci robbed and beat another black teen with a baseball bat while hurling racial epithets.


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Memorable Crimes in Queens' History