CRIME SNEAKING 'UP'
By PERRY CHIARAMONTE and LARRY CELONA, NY Post
What's come down may be creeping back up.
The city was hit with a crime rise in the first six weeks of the year - the first time that's happened since 1994, new figures show.
So far this year, there've been 12,611 major crimes reported around the city, compared with 12,533 for the same period in 2007 - a 0.62 percent increase.
Rapes increased the most; there have been 166 this year, compared with 130 for the same 2007 period - a 27.6 percent rise.
Murders are at 42 so far this year, a 2.4 percent hike over the 41 at the beginning of 2007.
Staten Island appeared particularly hard-hit, with a 23 percent rise in major crimes. A total of 407 have been reported so far; last year, there were 330.
Police unions have pointed to an overtime cutback and lack of hirings.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne noted the 0.6 percent rise in overall crime was slight - and that there's been a 70 percent compared with 1994.
As of 2005, New York's crime rate was the lowest among the 10 largest US cities.
As of Dec. 31, 2007, New York had 494 reported homicides, down from 596 in 2006 - the first year since 1963, when crime statistics were initially published, that the total was fewer than 500.
Major crimes are defined as murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary and grand larceny.