Major crimes in Nassau County’s realigned 3rd Precinct rose 8.41 percent in the first six months of 2013, according to the precinct’s year-to-year statistics.
Inspector Sean McCarthy, the commanding officer of the 3rd Precinct, said Monday the “drivers” behind an increase in major crimes from 975 to 1,057 were grand larcenies and commercial burglaries,
Grand larcenies in the 3rd Precinct rose 7.32 percent, to 616 from 574, in the first six months of 2013, according to the precinct’s statistics. Commercial burglaries went up 48.53 percent to 101 from 68.
“A lot of it is a pattern. It’s a bunch of unrelated, opportunistic burglaries,” McCarthy said of the commercial break-ins.
The yields from the burglaries were typically $150 or less from “numerous” incidents in New Hyde Park, Mineola and east Garden City, McCarthy said. He said the 3rd Precinct’s officers have focused on businesses along Old Country Road and Glen Cove Road and had made several recent arrests.
McCarthy said he could not tell whether the consolidation of the 3rd and 6th precincts last June, when the 6th precinct headquarters were shuttered, contributed to the higher numbers of crimes.
“I don’t know that the consolidation has any effect or what effect it has,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said grand larcenies have increased largely because of identity fraud and the carelessness of people who leave valuables in plain sight in their cars.
“There’s a lot of credit card fraud at Roosevelt Field Mall,” he said.
He said warning signs have been posted in high larceny areas and police officers patrolling the parking areas at Roosevelt Field have been putting notices on cars with valuables left inside. It’s a seasonal trend, with grand larcenies typically rising in early spring, McCarthy said.
He said the police department has gotten “good feedback” from its warning campaign, “but we want to see the numbers drop.”
The 3rd Precinct is the largest of any police precinct in Nassau County, extending west to the Queens border, east to include Westbury and Roosevelt, south through Mineola and north through the Willistons.
The county-wide major crime rate fell 1.17 percent, to 3,299 major crimes from 3,338 year-to-year.
Through July 1, vehicle theft also went up nearly 30 percent year-to-year, with 80 vehicles reported stolen this year compared to 68 last year.
“There are a lot of high-end auto thefts taking place in the 3rd Precinct north,” McCarthy said. “A lot of vehicles are unlocked.”
He said people frequently leave key fobs in their unlocked vehicles. He said the Americana Manhasset mall, the Wheatley Mall in Greenvale and parts of Great Neck were particular targets. The police department is working with jurisdictions both east and west of the 3rd Precinct’s large geographical area to thwart the car thefts. He said the department is also using a new technology he declined to describe in the effort.
McCarthy said the police also are working with parking valets to take preventive measures by parking higher end cars in less accessible parking spots.
The 3rd Precinct has seen a year-to-year drop of nearly 35 percent – from 64 to 42 – in residential robberies that McCarthy described as “violent, confrontational” incidents. He said the reduction is the result of a collaboration between the 3rd Precinct’s crime analyst and members of the Criminal Intelligence Rapid Response Team often working in plain clothes in transportation centers and main streets.
“It has worked well with the street robberies because the people who typically commit them are known,” McCarthy said.
Residential robberies rose by nearly 12 percent year-to-year to 115 from 103 in what McCarthy said was another seasonal trend. He said residents should activate alarm systems, ask neighbors to watch their houses when they’re away and make sure accumulated newspapers or mail don’t tip off would-be burglars.
He said 3rd Precinct officers have “tamped down” the burglaries occurring in area’s of the precinct’s northern peninsula in Sea Cliff, Roslyn Harbor and Glen Head. High visibility traffic stops have been one deterrent he said has succeeded there. He said Boy Scout Explorers handing out anti-burglary literature had also had an impact.
Among other major crimes, the murder rate dropped 100 percent, with no murders committed during the first six months this year, compared to one murder during the same period last year. The incidence of rape fell 40 percent to three from 5 incidents year-to-year.
While the sexual abuse rate jumped 800 percent year-to year with eight incidents this year compared to none last year, McCarthy said the numbers failed to indicate cases that were dismissed without merit or “historical” cases in which charges had not been made before. He said three arrests on sexual abuse charges were made both last year and this year.
“We haven’t detected any upswing,” he said.