Major crimes in Nassau surpass 2021 total in first nine months of 2022

Major crimes in Nassau surpass 2021 total in first nine months of 2022
The Nassau County Police Department reported a 38% increase in major crimes as of Oct. 10 this year compared to the same time frame last year. (Graphic by Rose Palacios)

Major crimes in Nassau County as of Oct. 10 had already surpassed 2021’s 12-month total of 5,230, according to statistics reported by police.

The Nassau County Police Department said on its website that 5,542 major crimes occurred from Jan. 1-Oct. 10 this year, an increase of 38% from last year.

The county is on pace to report approximately 1,850 more crimes this year, which would bring Nassau’s annual total to nearly 7,400, a projection by Blank Slate Media showed. 

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

The 2021 year-end major crime statistics were obtained by Blank Slate Media under a Freedom of Information Law request submitted to the Nassau County Police Department. The 2022 major crime statistics on the department websites were the most up-to-date figures published as of Friday.

Nassau has reported six murders, nine sexual abuse incidents, two criminal sexual acts and seven rapes so far this year. By comparison a total of 10 murders, 11 sexual abuse attacks, 10 criminal sexual acts and 19 rapes were reported in 2021, according to the statistics.

The violent crime categories of murders, rapes, criminal sexual acts and sexual abuse were the only four categories with decreased reports in 2022. Murders decreased by 14%, rape decreased by 59%, criminal sexual acts decreased by 75% and sexual abuse instances decreased by 18%.

The largest increase in major crimes was an 87% rise in stolen vehicles, with 796 reported so far this year. Commercial robberies also increased by more than 51% this year, with 165 reported as of Oct. 10. Police reported 3,354 grand larceny incidents in 2022, a 38% increase from 2021.

Residential and “other burglaries” combined to surpass 2021’s year-end total of 642, with 39% and 17% increases, respectively.

In Nassau’s 3rd and 6th Precincts, which make up a majority of North Shore communities, 2004 major crimes had occurred as of Oct. 10 this year, compared to 1,353 last year, an increase of more than 48%.

The 3rd 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 6th 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 3rd Precinct reported a 38% increase in major crimes from last year, with 1,385 as of Oct. 10 in 2022. The 6th Precinct reported a 76% increase in major crimes, with 619 this year.

The largest increase of major crimes in the 3rd Precinct is the 109 stolen vehicles reported so far this year, compared to the 64 reported during the same time frame last year. The 3rd Precinct also saw a 70% increase in residential burglaries, with 68 reported this year, a 43% increase in other burglaries with 107 this year and a 37% increase in grand larcenies, with 900 reported so far in 2022.

The 3rd Precinct reported two murders, no rapes, one criminal sexual act, three sexual abuse instances, 44 other robberies, 49 commercial robberies and 102 assault felonies. The precinct’s reported rapes and criminal sexual acts are down from last year, while the pair of murders were in contrast to none last year.

The 6th Precinct’s largest increase is the 1,400% surge in commercial robberies, with 15 reported this year compared to just one last year. The precinct also saw a 123% rise in stolen vehicles, reporting 132 instances this year and a 120% increase in other burglaries with 33 reported this year.

The 6th Precinct also reported no murders, rapes and criminal sexual acts as of Oct. 10, figures that remained the same since last year. Additionally, two sexual abuse instances, 10 other robberies, 23 assault felonies, 52 residential burglaries and 352 grand larcenies this year. The lone category that saw a decrease since last year was other robberies with two fewer reported in 2021.

An analysis of Nassau County crime statistics for the past five years conducted by Blank Slate Media shows a decrease of more than 10% in major crimes from 2017-2021 but an increase of more than 16% increase in violent crimes.

The figures reported by the department to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services did not correlate with what Blank Slate Media obtained in the Freedom of Information Law request for the 2021 year from Nassau County.

The statistics listed on the Police Department’s website have a disclaimer that states that “crimes listed relate to specific New York State Penal Law sections and may differ from crime categories reported to [the Department of Criminal Justice Services].”

Statistics that were reported by the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services site show a total of 14,039 major crimes were committed throughout the county in 2017, compared to 12,535 in 2021 – a 12% decrease.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, during a July interview with Blank Slate Media, attributed the rise in crime in the county to New York’s bail reform laws.

Blakeman, who has been outspoken in his displeasure with the state’s reformed bail laws since he launched his campaign for county executive last year, said there is a “state of lawlessness” throughout New York and it has resulted in repeat offenders coming back to Nassau County to commit crimes.

“We have to get serious about changing the laws so that we don’t give criminals more rights than victims,” Blakeman said. “Unfortunately, that’s the way it is now. We’ve got people committing crime after crime and judges are not given the discretion whether or not to hold these people and I think it’s a huge mistake.”

New York implemented bail reform laws in January 2020, with modifications passed in April of that year and the spring of 2022. The laws eliminated bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges.

State officials said the modified laws eliminated pretrial detention and optional cash bail in an estimated 90 percent of cases.

While judges throughout New York have the option to set bail in almost any case involving a violent felony, they may also release individuals in almost all other cases on their own recognizance or enact certain terms to make sure they ultimately return to court.

What judges cannot do, under the new bail reform laws, is to consider an individual’s “dangerousness” when setting those terms.

Cashless bail laws were the focal point of campaigns for many Republican candidates on the local and state level who saw success in Nassau over the past two election cycles.

Republican Anthony D’Esposito, a former NYPD detective and Hempstead councilman defeated Democrat and former Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen for the 4th Congressional District last month, 137,899-127,748. 

Aside from Gillen’s loss, a congressional seat that had not been in Republican hands for 25 years in the 3rd District also flipped to Republican as George Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman last month. Santos received 142,017, or 54.2% votes while Zimmerman received 120,060 or 45.8% votes.

Though Zimmerman said that modifications to the state’s bail reform laws were needed, Santos’ messaging was that of being “completely against” the bail laws in contrast to Zimmerman wanting to “advocate for changes” to the law.

Despite U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) losing the gubernatorial race to Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Republican claimed the larger share of support in Nassau with 55.4% of the vote.

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