In his column last week, “Look at the facts: The police consolidation plan works,” Alfonse D’Amato stated only one fact, which is that the precinct consolidation plan saved Nassau County taxpayers $20 million. The Nassau County Police Department posts the county’s crime stats on its website, and, based on its stats, certain crimes, such as burglaries and robberies, are on the rise in two of the three merged precincts — the 6th and 3rd and the 5th and 4th. The former 3rd and 5th were two of the busiest precincts in the county prior to the mergers.
Year-to-date crime stats through week 16, April 22, indicated that in the 4th Precinct, robberies are up 67.4 percent and burglaries are up 26.8 percent. In the 3rd precinct, burglaries are up 30 percent and all major crime is up 14.2 percent. What D’Amato seems to be forgetting is that when someone is the victim of a burglary or robbery, it is a horrific experience, an invasion of their personal sanctuary.
When those crimes rise, the public should be concerned about families’ safety. Perhaps D’Amato doesn’t feel unsafe despite the increase in crime, which could be because for years, when he was a U.S. senator, he enjoyed 24/7 police protection for his family, and now he doesn’t live in a community affected by the increase in these crimes.
Any increase in crime should be taken seriously by everyone, especially those who live in the areas that are seeing the spikes. The police commissioner will tout a 1 percent decrease. The public likewise has the right to know when crime rises, and should be notified immediately when it trends upward. Ignoring rising crime while highlighting the savings attributed to the mergers gives the public a false sense of security.
D’Amato also wrote that since the consolidation of the precincts, more than 100 administrative positions have been eliminated. Again, he misleads with his “facts.” Since the mergers, 174 police officers, detectives and supervisors have retired, while fewer than 30 police administrative positions have been eliminated. The remaining positions were problem-oriented police officers, detectives who investigated criminal cases such as burglaries and robberies, and supervisors of those officers and detectives.
Perhaps D’Amato should stick to what he knows best, making millions in his lobbying firm. Success isn’t measured by dollar savings alone.
Carver is president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association.