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NCPD: Crime at historic lows, new teams set for 2020

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Major crime is down 31 percent since 2009, according to Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

Ryder and County Executive Laura Curran highlighted drops in crime and new initiatives beginning this year at a news conference on Jan. 9.

“This sort of thing does not happen by accident,” Curran said. “We are absolutely going in the right direction using the latest techniques and technology. Data driven, problem solving law enforcement is happening in all of our communities every single day.”

Ryder outlined some of the crime statistics. Violent crime is down 22 percent since 2010, he said. Stolen cars have decreased 50 percent since 2009. Out of all car thefts, 95 percent had a key fob in the car and 90 percent of cars were unlocked., Ryder noted.

Homicides have remained stable for the past few years, with 15 in 2017, 17 in 2018 and 16 in 2019. NCPD anticipates fatal drug overdoses to be down 8 to 10 percent from last year. Non-fatal overdoses were down 15 percent in 2019 from 2018. “Everything swings in the right direction,” Ryder said. The county police and the District Attorney’s office has made the opioid epidemic a priority the past four years.

Half of the 16 homicides in 2019 were gun-related, Ryder said. In 2020, the NCPD will form a gun suppression unit, within the gangs unit, dedicated to investigating guns. “That’s their only purpose,” he said. “Most of our gang crimes are with guns so that’s the right spot for them.”

In addition, NCPD will create a tactical vigilance team of 16 officers deployed at places of worship, malls and downtown areas across the county seven days a week, Ryder said. “We’re working closely with our union to work on that number a little bit and how we can make it even better,” he said. “And we’ll report more on that as we go forward.”

The police department will spend $3.5 million in forfeiture money on license plate readers this year, Ryder added.

Curran also addressed rising concerns about state justice reform laws. She said she had “very productive conversations” with lawmakers in Albany this month and is pushing for “common sense changes” to the reforms.

“We’re always improving relations between our communities and our law enforcement, which is a big reason why we’re see these historic crime lows,” she said. “We will continue to be as vigilant and diligent as we can. I know under Commissioner Ryder’s leadership and team that we will be able to adapt to keep our communities safe.”