safest for all crime
103rd precinct / population 105,803
Jamaica, Queens, has long been tagged as one of the city's tougher neighborhoods. But the gritty stretch, centered on a rail hub, has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts as new businesses have moved in, lured by transit convenience and relatively low office rents. The 103rd Precinct covers the area, which includes stretches of Hillcrest and Jamaica avenues. It also includes Hollis, a residential neighborhood of detached frame houses that is known as a haven for working-class and middle-class residents, and as the stomping ground of famed rap group Run-DMC.
Like the rest of the city, the 103rd Precinct has seen a sharp decline in crime since the early 1990s. Total crime is down 74 percent from 1993 to 2010, led by a 73 percent drop in robberies and an 89 percent plunge in car thefts. The downward trend has continued, with 1,704 reported incidents of major crimes in 2010, compared with 1,761 logged in 2009, representing just a 3 percent drop, earning the area the ranking of 51st safest for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report, with 161 major crimes per 10,000 residents. This overall decline in crime was led by a 34 percent drop in reported rapes, from 32 incidents in 2009 to 21 in 2010.
Misdemeanor sex crimes, however, inched up by 3 percent in 2010. Felony assaults also were down from 385 to 342, an 11 percent drop, and burglaries plunged 14 percent, to 257.
Shooting incidents dropped by 21 percent, to 30.
Still, despite declines in some statistics, overall violent crime has turned back up in recent years. Even though the murder rate was down 46 percent from 1993 to 2010, the 15 killings in 2010 represent a 15 percent increase from 2008 rates, a 36 percent spike over 2009 rates and a jarring 50 percent climb compared with 2001 figures. Robberies shot up, too: 22 percent from 2009 to 2010, to 479 instances. While arrests related to gang activity declined 14 percent in 2010, narcotic arrests rose 14 percent.
Increase in robberies, 2009 to 2010
Drop in car thefts, 1993 to 2010
Photo: Getty Images/Vince Bucci
Jam Master Jay grew up, grew famous and died in Hollis.
Even after the DJ, whose real name was Jason Mizell, became a member of rap royalty, he stuck around the old neighborhood, working as a producer to discover young talent. On Oct. 30, 2002, someone burst into his recording studio on Merrick Boulevard and gunned him down.
Cops at the 103th Precinct worked on several theories about the slaying, including one involving a feud among rap crews. Nearly a decade later, no one has been charged for the murder.
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