Major crime surges 75% in Nassau over last year

Major crime surges 75% in Nassau over last year
Major crimes throughout Nassau County increased by 75% in the first three months of 2022, compared to the same time-frame last year, according to statistics from the Nassau County Police Department. ((Photo courtesy of the county executive's office)

Major crimes for the first three months of 2022 throughout Nassau County increased by 75% compared to last year, according to statistics from the Nassau County Police Department.

Statistics showed that 1,662 major crimes were committed throughout Nassau County from Jan. 1-Mar. 31, up from 950 crimes during the same time frame last year.  In Nassau’s Third and Sixth precincts, which make up a majority of North Shore communities, 645 major crimes occurred during the three-month span this year, compared to 333 last year, an increase of 93%.

The Third Precinct, located in Williston Park, serves the communities of Albertson, Bellerose Terrace, Bellerose Village, Carle Place, East Garden City, East Meadow, East Williston, Floral Park Center, Garden City Park, Herricks, Mineola, New Cassel, New Hyde Park, North New Hyde Park, Roslyn Heights, Salisbury, Searingtown, Stewart Manor, Uniondale, Westbury, and Williston Park.

The Sixth Precinct, located in Manhasset, serves the communities of  East Hills, Flower Hill Great Neck Plaza, Harbor Hills, Manorhaven, Munsey Park, North Hills, Plandome, Plandome Manor, Plandome Heights, Roslyn, Roslyn Estates, Roslyn Harbor, Russell Gardens, Saddle Rock, Sea Cliff, Thomaston, Glen Head, Glenwood Landing, Great Neck, Greenvale, Manhasset, Roslyn Heights and University Gardens.

The list of major crimes includes murder, rape, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, commercial robberies, other robberies, assault felonies, residential burglaries, other burglaries, stolen vehicles and grand larceny.

Some of the main increases came from stolen vehicles, which increased by more than 250% throughout the county over the past year. The Third Precinct reported 35 stolen vehicle incidents in 2022, nearly a 170% increase from 13 last year, while the Sixth Precinct saw a 750% increase in stolen vehicles with 51 this year, compared to six last year, according to the statistics.

During a public safety forum held in March in the Village of Great Neck, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said the problem has evident in the Great Neck peninsula. In 21 of the 23 cases of stolen vehicles throughout the peninsula, he said, key fobs had been left in the cars and he urged residents to be more cautious when locking their vehicles for the night.

“It’s nearly impossible for us to catch them unless we catch them in the act,” Ryder said during the meeting. “They’re coming back here over and over again because we’re making it easy for them.”

Ryder said a majority of stolen cars that have been recovered are located in Newark. He also said car thieves will drive the car around, leave it somewhere and if nobody comes near the car and it is not impounded, then the car will be rented to another individual who uses it to commit other crimes.

Stealing cars that have garage door openers inside are also ways to attract repeat offenders, Ryder said, as criminals will sometimes rent the car but keep the garage door button to come in and burglarize an individual’s home.

Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral said that villages across Nassau County are working with County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who was also present at the meeting, and the Police Department to secure license plate readers so that any car that is reported stolen can be better tracked by law enforcement.

Other increases to the county’s major crimes this year included nearly 400 more grand larceny incidents, according to the statistics. During the first three months of 2021, a total of 592 grand larceny incidents occurred throughout Nassau County. That number rose by nearly 65% to 972 cases this year. The Third Precinct reported a 78% increase of grand larceny incidents with 296 this year, while the Sixth Precinct reported a nearly 90% increase of grand larceny incidents with 113 in 2022.

During the first three months of 2022, Nassau County saw a 55% increase in all robberies, a 45% increase in all burglaries and a 34% increase in assault felony incidents, according to the statistics.

The Third Precinct reported 12 residential burglaries this year, compared to 12 last year, while the Sixth Precinct reported 20 residential burglaries this year, 12 more than last year, according to the statistics. 

A group of Chilean burglars was arrested in early 2020 for allegedly burglarizing three North Shore homes, including two in Sands Point and Great Neck Estates. District Attorney Anne Donnelly, who at the time was the deputy chief of the Nassau DA’s Rackets Bureau, said the men brazenly told arresting officers their handler recruited them to burglarize New York homes and the risk of jail was low because of the state’s new bail reform laws.

Officials confirmed that James Clark, the court-appointed defense attorney, asked for the men to be released on their own recognizance.  District Court Judge Martin Massell ordered the men to be held without bail, though only two were charged with bail-qualifying offenses, according to a representative from the district attorney’s office.

Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy’s house was burglarized prior to the arrest of two men in December.  According to officials, more than $100,000 worth of collectible coins and family mementos were stolen from Levy’s home.

The statistics provided by the Police Department did not have a month-to-month breakdown of the incidents or where they specifically occurred. Efforts to reach law enforcement officials for further comment on the statistics and when more updated ones would be published were unavailing.

Ryder and former County Executive Laura Curran announced last July that major crimes throughout Nassau decreased by more than 10 percent from 2020, which reflected a decade-long decline in major crimes throughout the county.

The police commissioner said last year that major crime in Nassau had dropped 36 percent since 2011. A decade ago, Nassau saw 7,191 reports of major crime compared with 4,983 last year, he said.

Nassau County spends $1,148 per capita on police and fire protection while the national median is $359, according to a U.S. News & World report this year that named Nassau County the safest community in America in 2020. Public safety professionals account for 1.26 percent of the county’s population, compared with the national median of 0.70 percent.

The county again received that distinction as the safest community in America from U.S. News & World report in 2021.

While running against Curran, a Democrat, for the county executive seat, Blakeman, a Republican, claimed that the U.S. News & World report only took the “spoonfed” statistics from the county and said they were not reflective of what happened during a pandemic-riddled 2020.

The county executive has also expressed his strong opposition to the state’s bail reform laws, enacted in the beginning of 2020. Blakeman signed an executive order earlier this year which cites a need to  “increase transparency by disclosing in daily reports the pending criminal case data and bail status of those rearrested” by the Police Department. He said the reports will be made available online.

The order also said more than 2,000 repeat offenders across the state were subsequently arrested for a violent felony while another case was pending. More than 400 of those repeat offenders were rearrested for a violent felony involving a firearm, according to the executive order.

“It’s time that Nassau residents and the lawmakers who passed these dangerous laws know exactly how they are impacting our communities,” Blakeman said earlier this year. “This executive order sheds sunlight on these dangerous laws and puts pressure on the governor and state lawmakers to put law-abiding Americans above criminals.”

Ryder, who was reappointed by Blakeman earlier this year, said in January that the county’s Police Department reported 13 gun arrests in the several weeks following the new year, with six of the defendants released on cashless bail. 

Others, he said, were given ankle bracelets to be monitored by police and then released on cashless bail.

The six cases Ryder mentioned involved individuals being charged with possession of a loaded firearm, a bail-eligible offense. In those cases, the individuals charged seem to have been released without bail at the judges’ discretion.

Officials said nearly 90 percent of the 11,000 people arrested in the county in 2021 were released without bail. More than 300 of those individuals were released without bail following a weapons-related offense, according to officials.

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