Jan. 7, 2019 By Christian Murray
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced today that there was a 2.7 percent decline in serious crime in Queens in 2018 compared to 2017.
Brown, who has held the job since 1991, said that 2018 represented another year where major crime fell across the borough. He said the decline was led by an 11.4 percent drop in robberies and a 17.2 percent drop in burglaries compared to 2017 figures.
However, some crime numbers did rise in 2018. There were 63 homicides in the borough, compared to 50 in 2017. Meanwhile, there were 389 reported rapes in the borough for the year through Dec. 30, up from 317 for the same period in 2017.
Brown focused on how serious crime–which consists of murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and stolen vehicles–was down more than 82.5 percent in 2018 compared to 25 years ago. He said that last year’s total of 63 homicides represented the fifth lowest annual figure since 1965.
“In 1992, there were 341 murders. This astounding decrease in deaths makes a real difference in the lives of the people of Queens.”
Brown, a moderate Democrat who is 86 years old and up for reelection this year, has not said whether he will run again. However, he would face a tough primary in September. Three Democrats—City Council Member Rory Lancman, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and retired Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak– have announced that they plan to run. Other Democrats are likely to come forward.
Brown praised the work of his office.
“I believe without a shadow of a doubt that we are the best prosecutor’s office in this great nation,” Brown said. “This year  we handled nearly 50,000 arrests. Each of every one of those cases were handled judiciously, efficiently and fairly. We have consistently maintained the best arrest to arraignment time in the City.”
He said that a faster arrest to arraignment time has led to most defendants being able to go home without spending time in jail.
Brown said that his office is continuing to deploy resources to clamp down on the distributors of fentaly, which he said is 30 to 50 times more potent that heroin and the deadliest drug in America. There were 229 cases of suspected fatal overdoses in Queens County last year, with nearly a third involving fentaly, Brown said.
Additionally, he said, his office continues to focus on prosecuting perpetrators of animal cruelty, hate crimes and sex trafficking.