Nassau Police Commish provides tips to Flower Hill residents after some crimes

Nassau Police Commish provides tips to Flower Hill residents after some crimes
Flower Hill Village Hall in the Village of Flower Hill on May 26. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

After a weekend crime spike in December and recent incidents in Flower Hill, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder reassured residents Monday night that they live in one of the safest communities while providing crime statistics and tips to stay safe.

“We appreciate the fact that you’re paying attention to this and we’ve got to do what we can to help solve this,” Ryder said.

The village held the community forum at its Board of Trustees meeting Monday night. Ryder said the purpose of the forum was to provide “some sense of security” and inform residents of actions taken to ensure their safety.

Sgt. Robbero, the commanding officer for the county’s Sixth Precinct, said that a few days prior to the meeting there was an incident on Mallard Road where an individual was banging on the back door of a home, holding a knife and demanding to be let in.

Robbero said a helicopter responded to what he called an “alarming call” to search the area but was unable to find the suspect.

He said a video canvass was also taken, but provided no evidence. He said the investigation was still ongoing.

While an alarming crime, according to police, Ryder said it is not a pattern of greater crime in the community.

“You’re a victim of one crime,” Ryder said. “You’re angry. You’re upset. You want answers, and I agree. We don’t want any crimes. We’re one of the largest counties in the country, it’s not going to be that easy with 1.5 million residents.”

After this recent incident in tandem with a spike in car break-ins in the village over a weekend in December, Ryder assured Flower Hill residents they live in a village with one of the lowest crime rates in the county.

The commissioner said Nassau County is the safest county in the United States, a designation he said the county has received for the past five years.

Ryder said Nassau County’s major crimes decreased by 8% in 2023.

There are about 560,000 homes in the county, Ryder said, with fewer than 360 burglaries in 2023. He said residential burglaries are down 19% from where they were the year prior.

“You go back 10 years ago, we used to average about 200 burglaries a week in Nassau County,” Ryder said. “That’s how bad it was getting.”

The commissioner said there are about 1,040,000 cars registered in the county. In 2023, less than 700 cars were stolen – a 28% decrease from the prior year.

Ryder shared crime statistics specific to Flower Hill, which showed a decrease in crimes and some types of crimes not even being reported in 2023.

In Flower Hill, one commercial robbery occurred in 2022 with none reported in 2023. No commercial burglaries were reported in either year.

In 2022, there were six reported residential burglaries in the village. This dropped to four in 2023.

Four stolen vehicles were reported in the village in 2022, Ryder said, which dropped to zero in the last year.

In 2022, two assaults were reported in the village. None were reported in 2023, according to Ryder.

As for individuals breaking into people’s cars, Ryder said 24 were reported in the village in 2022 and dropped to 20 in 2023.

“Crime is historically low in this county,” Ryder said. “They’re not stealing like they used to steal.”

While crime is decreasing, Robbero said some of the burglars target villages like Flower Hill because they show up on the internet under searches for nice neighborhoods.

Ryder said crimes come in waves in Nassau County, and when those waves crest, the Police Department attacks quickly.

The commissioner attributed some of the crimes to South American theft groups based in Queens.

He said the Police Department has wiretaps on these South American theft groups in which players discuss strategies for committing crimes specifically in Nassau County and its North Shore.

He described the scenario as the individuals “making profits” from the crimes they commit in Nassau County and then returning to their home country. And if they don’t get caught, Ryder said they continue until they are.

Ryder denounced bail reform laws and laws increasing the age of adults committing crimes from 16 to 18, citing them as influences for greater crime and diminishing the punishment for crimes.

He said if individuals from the South American theft groups are found breaking into homes but with no weapons in their possession and no violence enacted, they will be released from jail the following day without bail.

“We’re investing in locking people up, but nobody stays in jail,” Ryder said. “And it’s a problem for us.”

He said while Nassau County does not have a migrant issue, he attributed some of the crimes to the influx of migrants coming into New York City and neighboring Queens.

Mayor Randall Rosenbaum asked Ryder if the village installed license plate readers and security cameras, whether the data could be shared with the police department. The commissioner said the data could be connected directly to the department’s database.

Ryder said the county has spent about $4 million on license plate readers throughout the county, with a large amount being placed on the North Shore.

Rosenbaum said he is continuing to look into options for the village to enhance security, including cameras and private security services. He said private security for two cars to patrol for eight hours a night would cost about $300,000 a year.

As for what residents can do, Robbero suggested they expand the filming range of their Ring cameras in order to aid police investigating crimes in the village.

He also advised residents to set their home alarms and keep lights on in the house when they are not home at night.

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