Parsing Naussau’s Crime Stats

Yesterday, a spokesman for Kathleen Rice defended her record of fighting crime in Nassau as the county’s district attorney, saying, “Crime is down three percent,” compared to last year.

The spokesman was referring to statistics kept by the Nassau County police department, which include a broader array of crime categories than the state’s Department of Criminal Justice. The state’s way of categorizing crime is also the same one used by the F.B.I. to track crime trends nationally. (The fine print on the stats cited by Rice’s campaign say the numbers “may differ from crime categories reported to NYS DCJS and the F.B.I….”)

The state’s Department of Criminal Justice tracks “index crimes,” which are four categories of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) and three categories of property crime (burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft).

As I wrote yesterday, according to the state figures, crime in Nassau from 2008 to 2009 is actually up in almost every category tracked by the state.

According to the state’s figures, overall index crime from 2006 (Rice’s first year as DA) to 2009 (most recent figures) are up: from 21,231 in 2006 to 21,607 in 2009. 

Violent crime in Nassau during that time is mostly down (2,578 to 2,471), although there has been an increase in murders (from 21 to 30) and rapes (from 90 to 93).

Property crimes overall are up (18,653 to 19,136), because the uptick in larcenies (14,262 to 15,020) outpaced the drop in burglaries (2,798 to 2,568) and motor vehicle thefts (1,593 to 1,548).