safest for all crime

Ozone Park & Howard Beach

106th precinct / population 122,441

Ozone Park and Howard Beach experienced 117 major crimes per 10,000 residents in 2010, earning these neighborhoods the ranking of 26th safest for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report. Perhaps pushed up by crimes in the northern half of the 106th Precinct, near busy Liberty Avenue, the crime rate is not as low as one might expect for an area that has remained incredibly tight-knit.

Car theft is a huge problem, most likely because the neighborhoods' proximity to the Belt Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway make for a fast getaway, and John F. Kennedy Airport parking lots provide easy targets. It ranked dead last for per capita auto theft in 2010, at 26 per 10,000 residents, earning the official title of worst neighborhood in New York City for car thefts. Still, this category of crime was down 90 percent from 1993 to 2010, while total crime declined 78 percent during this period.

Crime increased slightly recently, with total major crimes rising by 2 percent between 2009 and 2010, and robberies up by 7 percent, to 261 from 245. As in other New York City neighborhoods, reported rapes ticked up in 2010, to 18 incidents from 11 in 2009, a 64 percent jump. Ozone Park is ranked 28th for reported rape, with more than one incident per 10,000 residents.

Most New Yorkers had barely heard of Howard Beach until Dec. 20, 1986.

That was the night a mob attacked three black men, killing one who ran into traffic in a futile effort to escape. The shameful racial attack pointed an unwanted spotlight on this insular neighborhood jutting into Jamaica Bay. In 2006, the neighborhood was thrust into the spotlight yet again when a black man was beaten by local residents after wandering into the area.

Yet the 2010 census showed that 36 percent of residents of the 106th Precinct identify themselves white, 23 percent black/African-American, 24 percent Asian and 23 percent Hispanic, so on paper the neighborhood appears to have a balanced racial mix.