2012-01-18 / Front Page

Crime Takes A Nosedive In 114th Precinct

By Liz Goff

Crime took a nosedive in the 114th Precinct in 2011, with homicides taking the greatest plunge – down more than a whopping 44 percent from 2010.

Police at the Astoria Boulevard stationhouse patrol, one of the largest precinct areas in the city, including Astoria, East Elmhurst, Dutch Kills, Long Island City and parts of Woodside and share patrols at the Astoria, Ravenswood and Queensbridge Housing projects with city Housing Police.

According to statistics recently released by NYPD officials, the 114th Precinct reported 2,007 incidents of crime in 2011, a slight decrease from 2010 when the precinct reported a total of 2,030 incidents.

Officials reported five homicides in 2011, three of which occurred at the Queensbridge Houses between January and July.

Queensbridge resident Melanie Webb was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison after confessing to the murder of her sister, Tara Webb, 25, who was caught in a crossfire meant for Tara’s boyfriend.

In another tragic incident, Guimmia Villa, 32, was shot and killed inside a pharmacy on 34th Avenue in February 2011. Villa’s estranged husband, who was seeking revenge over visitation rights involving the couple’s two young sons, fired the fatal shots – and then returned to his home where he took his own life.

Another high profile homicide occurred in late December, when an enraged, estranged husband opened fire at the family home in Astoria, killing his stepdaughter, Valeria Lowery, 32, and critically wounding his wife Olga Annarumma.

Despite the significant decrease in overall crime in 2011, 114th Precinct officials reported increases in three categories, including rapes, which showed an increase from 16 in 2010 to 25 in 2011.

Felony assaults rose from 283 in 2010 to 345 in 2011 and grand larceny rose from 646 in 2010 to 647 in 2011, the statistics show.

Three additional categories showed a decrease in the number of reported incidents in 2011, including robbery, which dropped from 333 in 2010 to 331 in 2011. Burglaries decreased significantly in 2011, with 463 reported incidents – down from 483 in 2010.

Fewer vehicles were reported stolen in the 114th Precinct in 2011. Statistics show 188 incidents of Grand Larceny Auto in 2011, compared with 260 in 2010.

Police officials are urging residents and business owners to take advantage of the many crime prevention programs available at the 114th Precinct, including auto theft prevention programs, bicycle theft prevention programs and crime prevention surveys performed by police at the Astoria Boulevard stationhouse.

For information on all crime prevention programs or to request a crime prevention survey at your home or business, call the 114th Precinct Crime Prevention officer at 718-626-9324.

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