Albany, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Crime in New York State declined 4.4 percent during the first six months of 2011 as compared to the same timeframe last year, with reductions reported statewide in each of the seven index crime categories: murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services on Monday released index crime data for the first six months of the year as well as final crime statistics for 2010, which show that overall reported crime in the state was at its lowest level in decades. Last year, there was a slight drop in the total number of reported Index crimes in New York State: 449,437 as compared to 449,623 in 2009.
Monday's release of New York’s crime statistics coincided with the annual release of the FBI’s Crime in the United States publication, which details crime trends across the country. According to statistics from the FBI, New York State held its rank as the safest large state in the nation, and the fourth safest state overall, behind North Dakota, South Dakota and Idaho.
“These trends are the direct result of the work done by law enforcement, day in and day out, in communities large and small, across New York State. As a whole, the state is safer today than it has been in more than three decades,” DCJS Acting Commissioner Sean M. Byrne said. “The state is committed to working with police and prosecutors who are on the front lines of the fight against crime, providing them with a variety of resources – grants, training, technical assistance and expertise – that allow them to better serve and protect their communities. The power is in the partnership. We are not just working harder; we are working smarter to drive down crime.”
The seven index crimes are used by the state and FBI to monitor overall crime trends and give law enforcement a tool to gauge their effectiveness and drive decision-making about staffing and day-to-day agency operations. Four index crimes are classified as violent: murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and three are classified as property: burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
During the first six months of the 2011, there were a total of 195,740 index crimes reported in New York State, down 4.4 percent when compared to the same timeframe in 2010. That drop in crime was driven by double-digit decreases in reported murders (down, 14.5 percent) and motor vehicle thefts (down, 12.4 percent); each of the five other index crime categories also experienced decreases.
In New York City, overall crime was down less than 1 percent – 88,055 total index crimes reported in the five boroughs for the first half of this year, as compared with 88,441 in 2010 – with a decrease in property crime driving the overall reduction.
Meanwhile, the 57 counties Upstate and on Long Island collectively experienced 7.4 percent decrease in overall crime for the first six months of the year. There were double-digit percentage reductions in five index crime categories, led by a significant drop in the number of reported murders: 110 this year, as compared to 165 in 2010, a 33.3 percent decrease.
The state’s crime picture Upstate and on Long Island generally reflects the way crime is trending in the 17 jurisdictions that participate in Operation IMPACT. The primary police agencies in these jurisdictions – police departments in the cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Jamestown, Kingston, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Troy, Utica and Yonkers, the village of Spring Valley and counties of Nassau and Suffolk – report 80 percent of the crime in the state outside of New York City.
For the first six months of 2011, crime in the 17 IMPACT jurisdictions declined 8.2 percent, with decreases reported in every one of the seven index crime categories. The most significant decrease was seen in the number of reported murders: 72 from January through June of 2011, as compared to 118 during the same timeframe last year, a 39 percent decrease.
For the past eight years, the state has awarded grants that allow IMPACT jurisdictions to target violent crime through the analysis of data and trends, development and sharing of intelligence and partnerships with the District Attorney, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department in their counties, as well as with state and federal agencies, including Parole, the New York State Police and U.S. Marshals.
IMPACT grants pay for personnel and technology for those 17 agencies, as well as their county partner agencies; this year, IMPACT partners shared $13.1 million. DCJS also provides a variety of grants to agencies in small cities and suburban towns, allowing them to target emerging crime trends in their communities.
Key to the state’s crime-fighting effort has been the expansion of crime analysis and intelligence development capabilities through the establishment of Crime Analysis Centers in Albany, Erie, Monroe and Onondaga counties and the linkage of those centers to those in other jurisdictions: Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, as well as those operated by the State Police and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). DCJS also is partnering with the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, providing funding so each organization can hire an expert in intelligence-driven policing and crime analysis to provide training and direct support to their member agencies.
The state also has invested in technology, including license plate readers and electronic fingerprint equipment, and enhanced the flow of information to local law enforcement. DCJS tracks crime data monthly and when spikes in a crime category are noticed in a jurisdiction, the agency partners with local law enforcement to develop a plan to attack that emerging crime trend. In addition, core to the DCJS mission is law enforcement training: in the past year, the agency has trained officers in a variety of best practices designed to enhance crime-fighting capabilities: for example, collection of DNA at all burglary scenes and effective ways to respond to, and investigate, domestic violence incidents.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “The New York State Police is proud to be a partner in programs such as Operation IMPACT, and to work closely with our law enforcement partners to reduce crime in our state. The State Police will continue its crime prevention and enforcement efforts to carry on this trend to make New York's communities safer.”
Added Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, who serves as president of the New York State District Attorneys’ Association: “New York is now one of the safest states in the country to live, work and visit due to the collaboration of law enforcement throughout the State. The numbers reflected in this report clearly show how effective policing strategies, along with sophisticated crime data analysis and aggressive prosecution, particularly in regard to illegal handguns, has resulted in a measurable reduction in violent crime. That said, there is much work left to be done and we will continue our collaborative efforts with the help and assistance of initiatives like IMPACT and resources like the Westchester Intelligence Center.”
Rensselaer County Sheriff Jack Mahar, who serves as president of state Sheriffs’ Association, said: “These crime statistics demonstrate how cooperation between local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies helps to keep New Yorkers as safe as possible. Sheriffs work every day with our counterparts in other agencies, and share information on a regular basis, which gives all of us better opportunities to prevent and detect criminal activity. And, New York has been very helpful to local and county agencies, by funding programs like Operation IMPACT, which targets high crime areas, and by providing grants for equipment such as license plate readers. The state has also offered help with other innovative programs such as developing a crime statistical management tool, which will help Sheriffs analyze crime and administrative data, and more effectively deploy our law enforcement resources. But I believe the reduction in crime also is a direct result of the hard work and efforts of our outstanding deputies and investigators who are out there every day dedicated to making our communities safer.”
Added Mechanicville (Saratoga County) Police Chief Joseph Waldron, who serves as president of the state Chiefs’ Association: “We are heartened by the latest news reporting the reduction in crime data. It is additional evidence that we are on the right track with intelligence-led policing and using data-driven approaches to policing our communities across this great state. We will continue to look forward to more successes in the coming years.”
Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard credits his city’s success to the collective efforts of the community and law enforcement agencies that have partnered with his department: “Our primary goal has been violent crime reduction, and we have focused our efforts on disputes intervention. Our intervention activities have been significantly enhanced through the coordination and communication the Rochester area receives through the Monroe County Crime Analysis Center. Our IMPACT Partners use data and information to get in between disputes, which has significantly reduced homicides, assaults, and firearm incidents. In addition, we have employed ‘smart policing,’ using data to help our police commanders make resource deployment decisions to place officers in hot spots and that has resulted in significant robbery prevention and reductions.”
Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff said: “We are extremely pleased that the current trend of reducing crime in the state of New York and the city of Albany has continued into the first part of 2011. We continue to see the benefit in partnerships with DCJS and other law enforcement agencies in the region in our efforts to reduce the crime rate in Albany. Having the additional resources that these agencies provide allows our department to be more efficient and effective.”
Nassau County Police Acting Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter said: “The Nassau County Police Department's participation in Operation IMPACT helped us drive index crime down by double-digits this year. Utilizing intelligence-led policing techniques, including our Criminal Intelligence Response Team (CIRT) program, funded by Operation IMPACT, our department aggressively reduced gang violence in our communities. In partnership with other local IMPACT participants, we have developed integrated strategies and criminal intelligence sharing models that leverage technology and personnel resources for an efficient crime fighting effort.”
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said: “Using our Operation Impact resources to reduce gun violence is proving to be a sound strategy that has had a pronounced effect in reducing violent crime in our county by approximately 15 percent and aggravated assault by over 12 percent. We use this money to fund teams of prosecutors and detectives to focus on gang leaders and gun trafficking using investigative methods traditionally utilized in organized crime investigations.”
Rensselaer County District Attorney Richard J. McNally said: “A substantial decline in violent crime numbers in our jurisdiction from the previous year can be attributed to the data-driven resource allocation. For example, we saw a spike in aggravated assaults, many of which were domestic violence-related. The IMPACT partners made efforts to address that and it’s paying off. We will continue to respond when trends tell us to shift, that’s smart allocation of resources and DCJS provides the lens that allows that focus.”
Oneida County District Attorney McNamara said: “I commend the Division of Criminal Justice Services for its leadership, which has helped reduce crime rates in the cities of Utica and Rome. We looked forward to continued cooperation and support from DCJS on Operation IMPACT and similar targeted crime reduction initiatives in Oneida County.”
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) that allows anyone to research the status of an offender.