NOT SO FAST
A comparison of year-to-date crime statistics from the week ending Jan. 31, 2011 and the week ending Jan. 30, 2012 shows that all major crime reports in the county are up approximately 27 percent. Total burglaries are up approximately 71 percent. Residential burglaries rose by approximately 118 percent.
The proposed closure of precincts, critics charge, will drive those numbers higher.
Legis. Denenberg, a member of the county’s public safety committee, blames the documented rise in the number of crimes due, in part, to a reduction in patrols by specialized units—such as the Nassau Heroin Task Force, which was disbanded; the POP unit, which saw a reduction in the number of officers, from four to one in each precinct; undercover Crime Section investigators; the Motorcycle unit; Canine; Anti-Crime and Gang Suppression; DWI patrol; and Bureau of Special Operations, among others. He believes the already-declining number of cops on the street, has, in part, contributed to the “increase in violent crime from problems with prescription drug addition, to home invasions of seniors to armed burglaries.”
Denenberg adds that closing precincts now would only make things worse:
“To say the people won’t know the difference because half those precincts will have two cops and be community response centers, you know what? The criminals will know the difference.”
With the police department down more than 300 officers in just two years—now at its lowest headcount since the late 1940s, say police union officials—Nassau Police Benevolent Association President James Carver sees Mangano’s move as just another way to “decimate” the department.
“Violence against police officers is increasing as the economy fails to recover,” he says. “People are getting more desperate out there. There are more drugs, as seen in the pharmacy robberies, than ever.”
While Mangano says there will be the same amount of patrol cars, Carver counters that units backing these cars up has been eliminated. He adds that in order to combat the increasing burglary problem, instead of having those backup patrols, the department decided “the way to combat it was to put a marked unmanned car to deter burglaries. They just park it on the street and leave.”