During the campaign period leading up to the Nov. 7 election, many candidates from both sides of the aisle made a case for increased public safety measures in Nassau County. Crime statistics from the county recently obtained by Blank Slate suggest that this may be true, with reported major crimes increasing by 38% from 2019 to 2022 but decreasing so far this year.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman ran his 2021 election campaign on a platform that included calls for addressing the rise in crime in the county. His calls specifically targeted the state’s bail reform laws, which he previously had blamed for the 75% surge in major crime Nassau County saw in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year during an interview with Blank Slate Media.
Those same calls for public safety initiatives in response to rising crimes carried into the 2023 election campaigns, with both Republican and Democratic candidates citing a need to address the safety concerns of residents.
Unlike other police departments, such as the neighboring New York City Police Department, the Nassau County Police Department does not provide document, a formal, written request to obtain records from governmental agencies, which took months for Blank Slate to obtain.
Available on the county’s Police Department website are an index of the total crimes reported each year from 1966-2022, which does not break them down by type of crime, and a comparison which does identify the crimes reported by categories and by precincts.
The crime statistics report obtained by Blank Slate, which has the five-year data from 2017-2022, does not break down the incidents by precinct.
In 2022, 7,394 major crimes were reported in 2022. In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 5,364 major crimes were reported, increasing by more than 2,000 in the three- year span. Overall, nearly all crime categories were reported to rise in 2022, compared to the crimes reported in both 2019 – prior to the pandemic – and in 2021.
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.
Crimes that increased from 2019 to 2022 included murders, grand larcenies, burglaries, robberies and stolen vehicles.
The county has not reported more than 20 murders in a year since 2017, with many years never even hitting the double digits. In 2022, 12 murders were reported. This is a 33% increase from 2019, which recorded nine murders, but a 33% decrease from 2021, when 18 murders were reported.
Criminal sexual abuse also increased, reaching its highest reported year for two years in a row yet staying below a dozen reported crimes. Sexual abuse was reported 11 times in 2022 and 2021, increasing from the two reported in 2019 – the lowest reported year from 2017-2022.
While all crimes have increased in 2022 compared to 2019, rape was the only crime that declined, falling by about 40%.
Grand larcenies in the county increased by about 27%, rising from 3,587 in 2019 to 4,584 in 2022. This constitutes 997 more reported grand larcenies between the two years.
Burglaries are differentiated by residential and other, which is not specified by police, adding up to a total of 877 burglaries reported in the county in 2022. From 2019, both these burglary categories increased, with a 49% increase in residential burglaries and 46% in other burglaries.
In 2019, 596 total burglaries were reported, and another 640 were reported in 2021. Reported burglaries in all the years following 2017 have been lower, with the highest number reported in 2017 at 897 total burglaries.
Robberies in the county also increased in total by 45% from 2019 to 2022, jumping from 318 robberies reported in 2019 and 461 in 2022.
Robberies are categorized by commercial and other, which is also not specified by police, with both increasing in the time span. Commercial robberies increased by 72% from 2019 to 2022, going from 131 reported robberies in 2019 to 225 in 2022, and other robberies increased by 26%, with 187 reported in 2019 and 236 reported in 2022.
Burglaries and robberies are two different crimes. Burglaries are when an individual illegally enters into a home or building and is not dependent on whether or not something is stolen. Robberies are when an individual steals property from an individual while utilizing threats or fear of harm.
Stolen vehicles reported saw one of the highest increases from 2019 to 2022, increasing by 112%. It was reported that 968 vehicles were stolen in 2022 and 457 were reported in 2019.
While stolen vehicles reported dropped between 2020 and 2021, they jumped from 561 in 2021 to 968 in 2022. This results in about a 73% increase from 2021 to 2022.
Despite the rise in crime from pre-pandemic levels, major crimes reported in the first five months of 2023 have already dropped by 1% compared to the same time period of 2022.
The Nassau Police Department said on its website that 2,776 major crimes occurred from Jan. 1-May 29 this year.
A total of 8,443 “other crimes” were reported by the department through the same time period, a 13.65% increase from the same time period in 2022.
In Nassau’s 3rd and 6th Precincts, which make up a majority of the North Shore communities, 927 major crimes had occurred as of May 29 this year, compared to 1,064 last year, a drop of 12.87%.
The 3rd Precinct reported a 2.85% decrease in major crimes from last year, with 681 as of May 29. The 6th Precinct reported a 32.23% decrease in major crimes, with 246 the first five months of this year.