safest for all crime
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.
Rise in car thefts from 2009 to 2010
Drop in car thefts from 1993 to 2010
Photo: Getty/NY Daily News Archive
A father of two adopted sons, John Favara, 51, was neighbor to John "Teflon Don" Gotti (pictured) in Howard Beach when he accidentally ran over and killed Gotti's youngest child on March 18, 1980. The 12-year-old, Frank, had darted out into traffic on his bike from behind a Dumpster. Police ruled the incident an accident, and no charges were ever filed.
Favara, however, began to receive death threats, and a childhood friend, Anthony Zappi, whose father had been a member of the Gambino crime family, recommended that Favara leave the neighborhood and get rid of his car, fast. After Gotti's wife, Victoria, clubbed Favara with a baseball bat on May 28, he decided to heed his friend's advice and move. But on July 28, three days before he was to close on his house, Favara disappeared and was never seen again. The case remains unsolved. Various wiseguy stories have circulated about Favara's demise. The prevailing version is that his body was dissolved in a barrel of acid.
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