County crime statistics show little rise in 1st 2 years after bail reform

County crime statistics show little rise in 1st 2 years after bail reform
Major violent crimes throughout Nassau County increased by 16% from 2017-21, according to statistics submitted by the Nassau County Police Department. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

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.

Statistics that were reported by the Nassau County Police Department to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services show that a total of 14,039 major crimes were committed throughout the county in 2017, compared to 12,535 in 2021.

The list of major crimes included in the report were murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

The biggest year-to-year decrease in major crime during the five-year analysis was from 2019 to 2020 with a drop of nearly 9% – from 13,387 to 12,244  -during the pandemic-riddled year, according to the statistics.

Though most crimes increased from 2019 to 2020, larceny reports decreased by nearly 15%, from 10,234 to 8,741, helping drive the overall decrease.

Motor vehicle thefts increased nearly 10%, from 639 to 702 from 2019 to 2020. Aggravated assaults increased 13.4% from 1,081 to 1,226 and burglaries increased 12%, from 870 to 975 from 2019 to 2020, according to the statistics.

Both violent and property major crimes increased slightly from 2020 to 2021, according to the statistics.

Major crimes, overall, increased less than 3% in 2021 from 12,244 in 2020. Violent crime increased 5% from 1,826 to 1,917 during this period and property crimes increased less than 2%.

The crime report appears to contradict claims that reforms to New York’s bail reform laws had led to an increase in crime, which was a central part of Republicans’ successful countywide campaigns in November 2021

New York implemented bail reform laws in January 2020, with modifications being passed in April that same year. State officials said the modified laws eliminated pretrial detention and optional cash bail in an estimated 90 percent of cases.

Local officials, including Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, have expressed their opposition to the laws, claiming that recent increases in major crimes and reports involving repeat offenders are reflective of bail reform.

Blakeman recently 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.”

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.

Blakeman signed an executive order in January shortly after taking office that 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.”

The county has yet to release those reports.

In the first three months of 2022, the police department reported that major crimes increased by 75% compared to the first three months of 2021.

In Nassau’s 3rd and 6th 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 county has yet to release county crime statistics since March.

Statistics showed that 1,662 major crimes were committed throughout Nassau County from Jan. 1-March 31, up from 950 crimes during the same time frame last year.

From Jan. 1- 31 of this year, more than 300 stolen vehicle reports were filed to the county’s police department, a 255% increase from the same time frame last year, according to statistics.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said 75% of stolen cars throughout Nassau this year were done so by Newark residents. He said crime rings throughout Newark are sending younger individuals to steal cars since they will not be prosecuted as adults.

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.

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

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

Total violent crimes increased by nearly 300 from 2017-2021, according to the statistics, growing from 1,650 reports in 2017 to 1,917 in 2021.

The largest increase in crimes from 2017 to 2021 was in rapes with 172 reported in 2021  eight less than the previous four years combined and 131 more than 2017.

While robberies decreased by more than 150 from 2017 to 2021, assaults jumped up more than 300 over the five-year span and murders went from 17 to 21 during the same time frame, according to the report.

The number of property-related major crimes (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) decreased over the five-year sample size by nearly 2,000, going from 12,389 in 2017 to 10,618 in 2021, according to the statistics.

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