County: drop in major crime

Homicides and robberies are down, but gun incidents are up


Major crime is down by 10.5 percent in areas monitored by county police, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a news conference in Eisenhower Park on July 1, when they shared semi-annual crime statistics.

“As county executive, my number one job is keeping our communities safe,” said Curran, who was joined by Ryder and Nassau County Police Department personnel. “Today we are so proud, because of the men and women standing here behind us and so many others out there in Nassau County, that major crime is down.”

Last year, U.S. News & World Report called Nassau County the safest community in America, she added.

The numbers presented are compared with crime at the same time the year before, and only include crimes that the NCPD monitors. They exclude villages, towns and hamlets that have their own police departments. But Ryder said there was a 22 percent drop countywide when places that county police do not patrol are included.

“We will do everything we can and put whatever resources necessary out there to make sure that we are keeping our community safe,” Curran said. “And a big part of that is community engagement.”

Eight Problem Oriented Police officers were added to NCPD precincts, Curran said. There is an emphasis on “intelligence-led policing,” which includes looking at data, noting where there are crime flare-ups, targeting issues and being pre-emptive.

NCPD Detective Lt. Richard Lebrun said that crime data is examined every day so that hotspots can be determined, to better focus intelligence work and the assignment of resources. “That’s how we keep up on the crime trends,” Lebrun said.

“If you . . . have public safety, everything else is gravy,” Curran said. “If people feel comfortable to go to school, to go to work, to start a business, to move here in the first place — if they’re comfortable because they’re safe, it’s better for our overall economic development and our overall quality of life.”

Ryder said that major crime has fallen by 36 percent in the past decade. “This is our team,” he said, referring to police. “This is how we come together, working together as a community, to drive the numbers in the right direction.”

Gunshot incident numbers countywide are up, however. In 2020, which Ryder deemed “an odd year” because of the pandemic, with most people staying indoors, there were just 68 shots fired throughout the county, he said. Thus far in 2021, there had been 95 shots fired, a 39 percent increase.

A gun-suppression team was put together last year, Ryder said, taking 40 guns off the street in the “Covid world.” In 2021, the team has surpassed that number. He added that the department had been working with federal partners on the issue of guns arriving in the county from areas down South, which he said was due to Covid-19.

“Now that everybody’s coming out, the gang guys see an opportunity to both sell their drugs and to take advantage of parties and territories that get involved,” Ryder said. “That’s where we see our shootings going up.”

Curran said she was aware that there is a great deal of anxiety about public safety. “We want to give a reassuring message that public safety is something that we take incredibly seriously,” she said. “We know it’s the bedrock of civil society. I want to tell the community that these are your public servants — we are your public servants.”