PHOTO: Queens DA Richard Brown last week briefed city, state and federal elected officials of Queens at the District Attorney’s annual Legislative Breakfast held at his Kew Gardens offices. The public safety briefing highlighted key accomplishments and major initiatives undertaken over the past year. Photo Courtesy of DA Brown’s Office
By Forum Staff
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown last week hosted the annual legislative breakfast held at his Kew Gardens offices. The public safety briefing highlighted key accomplishments and major initiatives undertaken over the past year.
“Last year was another eventful and exciting year for us,” said Brown. “It was a year in which we were once again among the City’s leaders in crime reduction – and it was a year in which we, as prosecutors, contributed greatly to the City’s historic decline in serious crime.”
According to New York City Police Department statistics, Queens County led the city in 2015 in reducing crime in three major categories – murder, burglary and auto theft. Overall, Queens County saw serious crime drop 6 percent as opposed to 2 percent citywide.
“We had only 60 homicides last year – a far cry from the 361 homicides that we had in 1991 – my first year as District Attorney.” Brown said that in 2015, his offices handled over 67,000 arrest cases and that Queens had the highest violent felony conviction rate in the city.
One of the contributing factors in helping the office excel at fighting crime is the dramatic advancement in technology, Brown said.
The District Attorney added that last year the office drafted more than 1,200 search warrants
and that the office continues to be a national leader in the number of court-authorized wire taps it conducts, coordinating about 5 percent of all the non-federal wire taps in the entire country.
Brown also reported that Queens continues to lead the City in many significant categories, such as: domestic violence conviction rate and lowest dismissal rate; district attorney presence at police precincts in the County; and dismantling of prolific auto theft rings.
Brown said that, in pursuing the office’s mission to increase public safety and reduce crime in 2015, the office was relentless in prosecuting illegal online gambling enterprises, violent gun and drug gangs, prostitution and sex trafficking rings, criminal operations that focused on identity theft, mortgage and insurance fraud, credit card fraud, trademark counterfeiting, as well as legitimate businesses that skimmed tax revenue to cheat the government out of millions of dollars. In addition, the office continues its aggressive pursuit of on-line child pornographers and sexual predators who troll the Internet in an attempt to meet underage children for sexual relations.
New initiatives launched in 2015 include an Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit, a Mock Trial Competition for local law students, a successful academic conference on Abusive Head Trauma/Shaken Baby Syndrome, and weekend hours for the Queens Child Advocacy Center to enhance its ability to service children and families
Last year, the District Attorney’s office also established the Office of Immigrant Affairs to help the nearly 50 percent of Queens residents born abroad navigate the criminal justice system. The goal is to make sure that all those who live in Queens know how to get help if they are victimized and to assist community members and groups with questions, concerns or complaints and direct them to the appropriate bureaus and divisions within the Queens District Attorney’s Office.