District Attorney's Message
Violent crime in the Bronx continued to decrease in 2007. Index crime complaints decreased by some 3% from 2006. Robbery declined by 6%, rape by 5%, and grand larceny auto crime declined by 12%. Thankfully, the largest decrease (15%) was in homicide.
Despite this welcome news, violent crime remains a serious problem in the Bronx, which continues to experience a disproportionate share of such crime in relation to its 16.6% share of New York City’s population. For example, in 2007, even with the decrease, the 130 murders in the Bronx still constituted 26% of the citywide total.
Arrests have also surged. In 2007, felony arrests rose by 13% and misdemeanor arrests by 14%. Given the City’s bleak fiscal outlook and diminished law enforcement funding, these trends suggest another challenging year.
Last year, we prosecuted some 5,971 felony cases. As usual, some stand out. One of these involved the conviction of a mother and her boyfriend for the death of four-year-old Quachaun Brown. The boyfriend beat the child to death over a three-day period, while the child’s mother failed either to protect Quachaun or to obtain prompt medical treatment for him. Quachaun’s mother and her boyfriend are now serving state prison sentences.
Another noteworthy case involved the novel use of a New York State anti-terrorism statute. The law, passed just six days after 911, allows for more severe sentences for crimes committed as acts of “terrorism,” which is defined in part as the intention to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” The St. James Gang declared themselves “Kings of the Bronx” and conspired to dominate and terrorize the entire community surrounding St. James Park in the Fordham section, committing numerous acts of violence in furtherance of that goal. In October 2007 a gang member was convicted of first degree manslaughter and related crimes under the terrorism statute. This was the first such use of the law against gang violence, and resulted in an enhanced sentence, including consecutive terms of 20 years to life imprisonment.
Financial crimes were also a concern in 2007. An accountant stole more than $500,000 from a Bronx school. A physician’s assistant scheduled herself to work simultaneous shifts at two separate Bronx hospitals, stealing more than $100,000. Finally, a woman with no medical training posed as a doctor and bilked at least ten people out of thousands of dollars for phoney “treatment” for a variety of maladies. All of these cases were successfully prosecuted in 2007.
Finally, my office continues to fight crime through a strategy that includes vigorous prosecution combined with innovative rehabilitative programs, participation in specialized courts, anti-crime education, victim services, and community out-reach. We continue to seek new tools and programs to enhance this multi-faceted effort.
As ever, I remain confident that we will make every effort to faithfully and ably discharge our responsibilities to the people of the Bronx.
Robert T. Johnson, District Attorney