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Queens has Lowest Murder Rate Since 1961 But Borough Faces Drug Crisis

Gavel on desk. Isolated with good copy space. Dramatic lighting.

Jan. 9, 2018 By Tara Law

Serious crime in Queens dropped by 7.9 percent last year but the number of opiate deaths was “staggering,” the Queens District Attorney announced Tuesday.

In the last year, Queens experienced an 18 percent drop in auto crimes, a 4.8 percent drop in robberies, a 3.1 percent drop in felony assaults and a 1.9 percent drop in rapes, the Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

In 2017, there were 50 homicides, the second lowest number of homicides since 1961,” Brown said, noting that “it was the year John F. Kennedy was president and his namesake airport here in Queens was known as Idlewild Airport.”

The drop in crime is part of a long term trend for the borough. In the past 24 years, overall crime has fallen by 82.1 percent, Brown said.

In that time, murders dropped by 82 percent, burglaries by 87.9 percent, rapes by 44.6 percent, felony assaults by 42.7 percent and auto thefts by 96.9 percent.

Despite the drop in overall crime, a new blight is claiming Queens lives, Brown said. In 2017, more than three times as many people died from opiate overdoses compared to homicides.

In the last year, 172 people died in suspected overdoses. The district attorney attributed the spike in part to heroin mixed with fentanyl, an opiate 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.

“These two drugs combined is a deadly cocktail,” Brown said.

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