safest for all crime
104th precinct / population 170,190
It's not just a lot of physical space. There's a world of difference between the neat row houses of Middle Village and Maspeth, where generations of middle-class city employees such as sanitation workers and firefighters live, and the tougher streets of Ridgewood that border Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Overall crime was down 76 percent from 1993 through 2010, and it inched up by less than 2 percent in 2010. The 104th Precinct ranks a decent 21st safest neighborhood for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report, with 103 major crimes per 10,000 residents. But in all the neighborhoods patrolled by the 104th Precinct, violent crime is rare, and in 2010 the precinct recorded just four murders. But even that low total represented double those recorded in 2009.
Still, felony assault was up each of the last two years, 22 percent in 2010, to 225 from 184, which is up 50 percent from 2008. Rape jumped, too, from 13 to 21 incidents last year, a 62 percent increase.
Car theft is a major — and growing — problem in the precinct, too, as commander Capt. Raymond DeWitt candidly admitted to residents last year. The 104th Precinct had 359 reported car thefts in 2010, up a whopping 21 percent from the 297 recorded in 2009. That's down 60 percent from 2001 levels, but now heading in the wrong direction. The precinct ranks a woeful fifth-worst for car theft.
It hasn't been much better for burglaries, with the area ranking 50th out of 69. Where once residents could leave their doors unlocked, Maspeth Neighborhood Watch groups warn that it's not a good idea today, given the string of burglaries hitting the area recently.
Increase in car thefts from 2009 to 2010
Drop in murder rate, 1993 to 2010
On Jan. 21, 1986, Detective Anthony Venditti, 34, was assigned to follow Federico "Fritzy" Giovanelli, 53, a reputed Genovese crime-family soldier who was under investigation for running an illegal gambling and loan-sharking ring. Venditti was assigned to the Joint Organized Crime Strike Force, a team of NYPD and federal investigators. The detective ducked into Castillo Restaurant, a diner on Myrtle Avenue, in Ridgewood, to use the bathroom. When he stepped back outside, he was allegedly confronted by two henchmen and Giovanelli. Venditti was shot twice in the face and twice in the back. His partner, Kathleen Burke, was shot once in the chest. Giovanelli, Steven Maltese, 53, and Carmine "Buddy" Gualtiere, 56, stood trial in state court in 1987 for the murder, but the result was a hung jury; a second trial in state court, in 1988, acquitted Gualtiere, but ended in another hung jury for the other two men. In 1989, Giovanelli, Maltese and Gualtiere were convicted in federal court of racketeering charges that included Venditti's murder and were sentenced to 20 years in prison. The sentences were overturned on appeal, however, and all three were finally acquitted in state court in 1994. Giovanelli claimed that he was being robbed by two unknown men and that the supposed robbers had shot Venditti.
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