Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Queens District Attorney
Joining DA Brown (seated 2nd from r.) at his 26th annual Legislative Breakfast are (standing l. to r.) Assemblymen Daniel Rosenthal and Michael Dendekker, Councilman Donovan Richards, State Sen. Mike Gianaris, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz; (seated l. to r.) Councilmen Rory Lancman and Barry Grodenchik, and Borough President Melinda Katz.
By Forum Staff
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on Friday morning highlighted the borough’s contributions to the city’s historic decline in serious crime at his 26th Annual Legislative Breakfast.
The borough’s top prosecutor also noted the key accomplishments and major initiatives of his office over the past 12 months as he briefed several city, state, and federal elected officials representing Queens.
“Last year was another eventful and exciting year for us. 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 through our law enforcement initiatives and the utilization of cutting-edge intervention and prevention programs – which, in turn, have created safer neighborhoods for our residents,” Brown said.
According to City Police Department statistics, in 2017, Queens enjoyed a 7.9-percent reduction in serious crimes, as opposed to 5.4 percent citywide.
“We had only 50 homicides last year – which is the second-lowest number of homicides since 1961, and a far cry from the 361 homicides that we had in 1991 – my first year as district attorney,” Brown noted. “In 2017, we handled over 57,000 arrest cases. And once again, we had the best arrest-to-arraignment time in the city. We also had the highest violent-felony conviction rate in the city.”
Additionally, Queens continued to lead the five boroughs in significant categories, including:
• Having the highest domestic violence conviction rate in the city and the lowest dismissal rate; the office leads the city in pre-indictment domestic violence pleas.
• Having assistant district attorneys present at police precincts during lineups. Last year, ADAs supervised nearly 350 lineups at precincts throughout the borough – the only DA office in NYC to have prosecutors present at every lineup.
• The dismantling of prolific auto theft rings that have resulted in a dramatic decrease in auto crimes. In 1991, Brown recalled, 52,000 cars were reported stolen in Queens. In 2017, that number was down to less than 1,600.
Brown cited “dramatic advancement in technology” as one of the contributing factors to the gaudy numbers.
“Using the latest technology enables the office to get involved as quickly as possible with someone from my staff at the scene of crimes regardless of the hour, at police precincts, hospitals and sometimes in the homes of crime victims,” Brown added.
The DA also noted that last year the office drafted more than 1,200 search warrants, and that the office continues to be the national leader in the number of court-authorized wiretaps it conducts. In 2017, the office coordinated more than 21 percent of all the non-federal wiretaps in the entire country.
Brown characterized his “busy metropolitan prosecutor’s office” as among the best in the U.S.
And as he concluded his public safety briefing, Brown told the elected officials in attendance, “We have the respect of our law-enforcement colleagues and the confidence of the 2.3 million residents of Queens County, whom we represent, but we need your help to secure the resources necessary to continue to reduce the level of violence within the county and improve the quality of the lives of our residents.”