safest for all crime

woodhaven, richmond hill & kew gardens

102nd precinct / population 144,008

The neighborhoods of Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens have seen a precipitous drop in crime during the past two decades, with total incidents of crime off 79 percent from 1993 to 2010. Still, the ethnically diverse enclave in central Queens has seen a recent spate in hate crimes grab headlines. In Richmond Hill, a South Asian and Guyanese stronghold, for example, Sikh students have been attacked. Guyanese immigrants, including those of Indian descent, have also been targeted, and a number of mosques in the area have been burglarized. And in March 2011, five teens burst into a house party on 90th Street in Woodhaven, yelled anti-gay slurs and beat teen Anthony Collao to death.

The area has long had an unflattering crime history. Kew Gardens was the scene of the notorious Kitty Genovese murder, where almost 40 residents did virtually nothing to save the 28-year-old from being stabbed, despite her cries for help.

Nowadays, though things have gotten far safer in the neighborhoods, which placed 22nd safest for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report, they still struggle not only with bias crimes, but also car thefts. While auto stealing dropped nearly 92 percent during the 17 years ending in 2010, the precinct, consisting mainly of single-family homes, had one of the highest car-theft rates in the city in 2010.

That year, the precinct undertook a Vehicle Identification Number etching program to thwart thieves, in which cars' VIN number were etched onto their windows, so they couldn't be removed without being smashed. The area also had a moderately high burglary rate in 2010 compared to the rest of the city, as it placed 43rd in that category among neighborhoods citywide, with 358 incidents, up 9 percent from 2008.

Gang arrests are also on the rise, nearly doubling from 2009 to 2010. For example, on July 30, 2010, Dario Paiva, 27, was stabbed to death by members of the Latin Kings gang while trying to defend his brother on a J-train platform.