Major crime continues to decrease throughout Nassau County: officials

Robert Pelaez
Major crime throughout Nassau County has decreased by more than 10 percent over the past year, according to county officials. (Photo by Rose Weldon)

Major crimes in areas with Nassau County Police Department presence decreased by more than 10 percent since last year, according to county officials.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder went over the statistics and various measures that the Police Department has taken and will continue last Thursday. Ryder said the 10.5 percent decrease in major crime reflected a decrease in major crime over the last decade.

Since 2011, Ryder said, major crime in Nassau County has decreased by 36 percent. A decade ago, Nassau saw 7,191 reports of major crime compared with 4,983 last year, Ryder said.

The county has also seen a reduction in residential burglaries since 2011, with 1,455 occurring then compared with 278 in 2020,  an 81 percent decrease. Ryder said there has been a more than a 15 percent decrease in residential burglaries since July 2020.

Ryder said the county’s homicides were “historically low” in 2017, and the trend has continued to move in that direction. Ryder said the county has seen a 40 percent decrease in homicides in areas that Nassau police specifically monitor and a 22 percent decrease when other villages and municipalities where the county works with local law enforcement entities are taken into account.

Ryder noted an increase in shots fired in the county over the past year. According to Ryder, Nassau saw just under 70 shots fired last year, compared with nearly 100 this year. Ryder said restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic were a potential contributing factor. 

Curran and Ryder said the county has added eight problem oriented police officers to the various precincts in Nassau along with the expansion of the Police Activity League with three new locations in Elmont, Lawrence, and Roosevelt. Ryder also said the county will continue to work with community leaders on how to keep the trend of decreased major crime and proper policing alive in Nassau County.

The county has also undergone a variety of other initiatives leading up to the announcement last week, including the establishment of a committee tasked with ensuring equal opportunities in the Police Department, the wearing of body cameras and re-energizing an initiative to combat opioid use and addiction.

In June, Curran announced the launch of a Police Diversity Committee after a Newsday article highlighted a disparity in the hiring of minority applicants for police departments on Long Island.

Curran said the 10-member committee, composed of various community, civic, civil rights and religious leaders, would be tasked to improve the diversity of the county Police Department. The committee, she said, would file recommendations on how diversity can be improved ahead of the next police officer civil service exam in 2022.

In late May, Curran announced the purchase of 2,500 body cameras for officers at a cost of $5 million. The agreement between the county and the union would provide officers with a $3,000 annual stipend to wear the cameras. 

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 deemed Nassau County the safest community in America.  Public safety professionals account for 1.26 percent of the county’s population, compared with the national median of 0.70 percent.

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