safest for all crime
122nd precinct / population 194,822
In New Dorp, South Beach and the surrounding neighborhoods, there were 1,008 crimes, including 731 burglaries, grand larcenies and car thefts, but only two murders and a single shooting in 2010, ranking them 2nd safest in all of New York. Serious crime overall was down another 7 percent from 2009 to 2010, continuing a trend that has seen crime cut by more than 82 percent from 1993 to 2010.
These neighborhoods, located in the center of the island, create a vast corridor of homes, condos and business districts mixed with lush green parks. Characteristic of suburban life on the outskirts of a large metropolis, the neighborhoods have a Midwestern feel, and Travis boasts the oldest Fourth of July Parade in New York City.
Todt Hill is home to mansions including the so-called "White House" built by Gambino crime-family boss Paul Castellano and modeled on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Today, Russians have migrated from Brooklyn into solidly working- and middle-class South Beach neighborhoods. Orthodox Jews live in Willowbrook. Pockets of Irish, Germans and Italians reside in West Brighton.
Still, while the area's 122nd Precinct is safe overall, rape persists as a problem and was down only 5 percent from 1993 to 2010 and doubled from nine reported incidents in 2009 to 18 in 2010. Robberies rose 7 percent in 2010, from 108 to 116; felony assaults were up 48 percent, from 95 to 141, from 2008 to 2010.
Rise in rape from 2001 to 2010
Drop in auto theft from 1993 to 2010
Photo: Getty/NY Daily News Archive
On the morning of Dec. 2, 2007, FDNY rising star fire marshal Douglas Mercereau was shot several times in the head while his two children were asleep in another room. Their mother, Janet (pictured), a school teacher, claimed to be with their ill daughter in that second room and not to have heard any shots. She said that she called the police upon discovering her husband's blood-splattered body under the covers.
But the couple had a troubled marriage, often fighting about Janet's weight. Investigators instead believed that she had waited until several hours after the shooting before calling the cops, and spent much of the "missing" time running the murder weapon — her husband's service revolver — through her dishwasher and washing the clothes she had worn when she pulled the trigger. A jury convicted her of the murder, and she's in jail on a 25 years-to-life sentence. "If you're in a bad marriage, you get a divorce," Assistant District Attorney Yolanda Rudich said after the verdict. "You don't shoot your husband when he sleeps."
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