Police calls and arrests have dropped significantly this year across the East End. The East Hampton Village Police Department experienced the biggest decline in arrests, percentage wise, of all departments contacted by The Independent, which examined each arrest East Hampton Village made during the first three quarters of 2017 and 2018. Because many arrests involve multiple charges, The Independent tried to determine the most serious charge in each. Here is a brief look inside those numbers.
Almost all arrests made by East Hampton Village police, both this year and last, came after traffic stops. The most common criminal charge brought by village police after a traffic stop is a 511, or misdemeanor unlicensed driving count. The second most common charge brought is a 509, or a violation-level unlicensed driving. The difference in the charges is important. A 509 means you simply do not have a valid driving privilege in New York. A 511, on the other hand, means your driving privilege has been suspended. That automatically happens when a driver gets charged with a 509 violation, and does not deal with the ticket. Any moving violation not dealt with by a driver can lead to a license suspension, and the misdemeanor charge. Also leading to suspensions, and unlicensed driving charges, are drunken driving convictions.
Of the 184 arrests made in the first three quarters of 2017, 69, or 37.5 percent, had as the top charge aggravated unlicensed driving. Violation unlicensed driving was the top charge in almost 24 percent of the arrests, or a total of 44 in 2017. That means that over 60 percent of those arrested after traffic stops in the first three quarters of 2017 were charged with unlicensed driving.
While the total number of arrests made by the village has decreased by a full 50 percent this year, the percentage of those arrests on aggravated unlicensed driving charges at the misdemeanor level has actually increased. Of the 92 arrests made in the first three quarters of this year, 46, or 50 percent, were for misdemeanor unlicensed driving. However, the violation-level charge of unlicensed driving is down sharply. After bringing that charge 44 times in the first three quarters of 2017, during the same time period this year, the violation as the top charge in an arrest dropped to 12, or only 13 percent of the year’s total. Yet the total of those charged with unlicensed driving at the violation and misdemeanor level, combined as a percentage of total arrests this year, 63 percent, is almost exactly the same combined percentage seen last year, 61.5 percent.
Arrests on non-driving-related crimes are slightly down in the village, from about 18 in 2017 to about 14 this year. The detective bureau appears to have made about the same number of arrests this year as last.
One type of arrest is down sharply in both East Hampton Town and Village, drunken driving, both on the misdemeanor and felony level. In 2017, the total arrests made on that charge in East Hampton Village was 23, with three of those being at the felony level. This year, the total is nine, with four charged at the felony level.
East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said last week that DWI arrests were down in his department as well. He attributed the decrease in town DWI arrests to the emergence of rideshare services in East Hampton, such as Uber.
Village Police Chief Mike Tracey was away the past week and not available for comment.
The Independent will delve further into the East End police numbers next week.