Across the East End, police departments are reporting significant decreases in crime and in the total volume of calls for the first three quarters of 2018, versus the same time period last year. Of all the departments whose numbers were available to The Independent, East Hampton Village had, by far, the largest decrease in the number of arrests from 2017 to 2018, a full 50 percent. For the first nine months of 2017, there were 184 arrests, as opposed to 92 for the same time period this year. The Independent goes inside the numbers behind that decrease in a separate sidebar.
The decrease in the number of crimes on the East End reflects a national trend, according to FBI statistics. The FBI released the 2017 national crime statistics in September. Property crimes, such theft and larceny, have been steadily decreasing for 15 consecutive years, the FBI reported. Violent crime has also been decreasing over the same time period, although there was an increase between 2015 and 2016.
“The 2017 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 382.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the estimated rate of property crime was 2362.2 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate fell 0.9 percent when compared with the 2016 rate; the property crime rate declined 3.6 percent,” the Bureau reported.
Departments across the East End reported decreases in the first three quarters of the year.
Apart from the number of arrests, the actual number of calls fielded by the East Hampton Village police decreased a little over four percent over the first nine months of 2018, from 3988 to 3819.
Despite a busy summer season that saw East Hampton Town police team up with other law enforcement agencies in an anti-drug sweep in Montauk that netted about 20 suspects, town police saw actual drops in activity and arrests. As with the village department, total calls fielded by town police dropped about 10 percent, from 16,242 to about 14,658. Though not nearly as big a percentage drop as in the village, arrests made by town officers decreased by nine percent, from 778 to 708.
For town police, the numbers represent a stark change from recent years, during which the numbers went in the opposite direction, bucking national trends. In 2017, the number of events logged by East Hampton Town police topped 20,000, apparently an all-time record. Arrests for the year in 2017 were just under 1000, at 970, which also appears to be a record, at least for recent years.
East Hampton Town police chief Michael Sarlo commented last week that he has noticed a decrease in arrests on driving while intoxicated charges. He said the emergence and convenience of ride sharing services might have led to that decrease.
Regarding the decrease in actual calls, he said, “It is not one particular type, although commercial noise complaints, and town code violations summons are both down significantly. That should be a direct result of increased compliance and improved conditions.”
Sag Harbor Village arrest numbers are right in line with East HamptoTown’s percentagewise, dropping a little over eight percent, from 248 to 228.
Riverhead Town police reported a decrease from 800 arrests in the allotted time period in 2017 to 619 this year, or almost 23 percent.
Riverhead also provided, in its reports, total reported crimes for the first three quarters of both years in a chart labeled “criminal incidents.” These include all types of crime, from petty theft to murders (there were none of the latter). Crimes reported dropped even more than the arrest number, from 2145 to 1450, or 32 percent.
Southold numbers, which include Shelter Island, follow the.Southold numbers follow the trend. The decrease in calls is nominal, from 16,821 to 16,753. But, again, as across the East End, arrests are down from 250 to 172, or 31 percent.
Southampton Town police reported decreases in crime as of the beginning of September. According to a press release from Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, reports of crime had dropped in Southampton Town by 20 percent. Schneiderman credited strong police work and better communication with the public for the decrease.