safest for all crime
109th precinct / population 247,354
It may take a few more years before Flushing surpasses the size of New York's original Chinatown, but the Queens neighborhood is already significantly safer than its Lower East Side counterpart. Flushing ranks as the ninth safest neighborhood for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report. There were 77 major crimes per 10,000 residents in the 109th Precinct, compared with 184 for Manhattan's Chinatown, covered by the 5th Precinct. If its crime numbers weren't tethered to the Lower East Side's 7th Precinct for this report, Manhattan's Chinatown would rank a mere 60th for safety rather than 48th.
Of course, the 109th includes a much broader swath of neighborhoods than just Flushing. Even though Chinese immigrants are the dominant ethnic group here, there is plenty of the diversity that northern Queens is famous for, including South Asians, Latinos and older Caucasian residents. Flushing's impressive statistics are boosted by the fact that they include Whitestone, the northernmost section of Queens, where suburban homes and bungalows line the streets and serious crime is virtually unknown.
As in similar neighborhoods, crime was down in Flushing and Whitestone by 80 percent from 1993 to 2010, led by significant drops in auto theft (93 percent), robberies (83 percent) and burglaries (80 percent).
The overall major crime rate continued its fall in 2010 by another 5 percent, to 1,910 incidents from 2,018, led by a 24 percent drop in robberies, making Flushing & Whitestone the seventh safest area out of 69 neighborhoods in the city for that category. Grand larceny dropped too, by 16 percent, to 682 incidents.
Still, even though the numbers remain low, the murder rate has been on the rise for the past decade. It was up 40 percent from 2001 to 2010 and jumped an alarming 133 percent last year, from three incidents in 2009 to seven in 2010. Rapes were up by 31 percent, to 17 incidents from 13. Burglaries increased 17 percent, to 486 from 417, and felony assaults saw a slight 3 percent uptick, to 217 from 211.
Rise in murders from 2009 to 2010
Drop in robberies from 2009 to 2010
Photo: Getty Images
It started as a simple holdup — and ended in bloody mass murder. Small-time crook John Taylor (pictured, right) went to the Wendy's restaurant on Main Street in Flushing after closing time on May 24, 2000. He had planned to stick up the fast-food joint for whatever cash was in the register, but instead Taylor inexplicably killed all the workers inside.
He and an accomplice herded several workers into a walk-in refrigerator, taped their mouths shut and covered their heads with plastic bags. Then he shot them, one by one. One survived by playing dead among the bloody bodies. A second worker miraculously lived even after a bullet passed through his head. Taylor was convicted and sentenced to death, although that sentence was changed to life without parole; his partner had already been sentenced to life without parole.
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