By Alex Petroski
Suffolk County is off to a safer start in 2018.
Violent crime, drug overdoses and fatal motor vehicle crashes are all trending in the right direction in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same time period last year, according to data announced April 4 by then Suffolk County Police Department Acting Commissioner Stuart Cameron. Geraldine Hart, the county’s first female police commissioner, took the helm and officially began her tenure, according to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D).
Homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assault combined, dropped almost 19 percent when comparing the first three months of 2018 to the same period in 2017, according to the department. During the first quarter of 2017, 17 people were injured or killed by gunfire in Suffolk County. Nine people have been injured or killed by gunfire in 2018 so far, representing a 47 percent decrease.
Drug overdoses during that time period have also dropped 42 percent, according to SCPD, citing a 25 percent increase in narcotics-related search warrants so far in 2018. During those searches, detectives arrested 155 people and seized 43 guns, police said. In 2018, 871 grams of heroin have been seized in Suffolk County and 3,732 grams of cocaine, representing 189 percent and 724 percent increases respectively compared to January through March 2017.
“The statistics in the first quarter of 2018 show impressive results which are reflective of the hard work done by the men and women of this department,” Cameron said, adding that the encouraging statistics also came despite a 17 percent reduction in overtime costs.
Bellone was complimentary of the police department in light of the announcement of the statistics.
“Once again, the hard work of the men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department has led to the lowest levels of crime in recorded history,” he said in a statement. “Not only does this reaffirm that our crime-fighting strategies are working, we are doing this in the most cost-effective way possible.”
Despite the positive countywide signs related to violent crimes, the 6th Precinct is not yet enjoying such a trend in 2018. This year to date, 36 violent crimes have occurred, compared to 31 in 2017’s first quarter. Specifically, more aggravated assaults and robberies have been committed in 2018 than in 2017.
Cameron also touted a 25 percent first quarter decrease in fatal motor vehicle crashes and an 11 percent reduction in crashes resulting in injuries.
“These results reflect the department’s increased focus on traffic enforcement, the incorporation of an effective intelligence-driven model to traffic enforcement and the department’s new Alarm Management Program, which has freed up patrol time to allow for increased enforcement,” a press release from the department said.