There's an interesting link in this morning's Brownstoner (courtesy of a New York Post story) about crime rates in Brooklyn for the first half of 2007. Murder rates in the Brooklyn North borough command area are up 34 percent, with a chunk of that coming in places like Bushwick; even in the tonier areas of BN (i.e. Brooklyn Heights), robbery, assault, and grand larceny have spiked. Brooklyn South, which includes PLG, has seen an overall decline.
Interestingly, Brooklyn North features many of the neighborhoods -- Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy -- that have had a certain amount of frenzied real estate interest as of late. And while Brooklyn South has it's surging neighborhoods (Windsor Terrace, Ditmas Park, Sunset Park), PLG remains, even with the recent spate of activity, priced relatively below almost all of the other classic brownstone areas. (Judging from what's come on the market over the past several weeks -- check out the first three of Brown Harris's local listings, which you can do by clicking on the Prospect-Lefferts link -- that might not be true for long.) If anything, this reinforces my theory that services and acquaintances drive real estate in NYC as much as anything...including location. PLG, by dint of the one-family zoning in the historic district, curtails the waves of new denizens other neighborhoods have experienced, which therefore limits the overall demand for services. (Families, after all, are not going to be hitting the town as often as, say, single thirtysomethings.)
All of this could be changing; at least the development rumors seem to be pointing in that direction. And a half-year's worth of data is just that: a half-year's worth of data. But it is interesting.
(An aside: this was pretty much the only precinct map I could find. There must be better ones than that. Anyone have any idea where they'd be?)