Crime in 2016 was at historic lows in Suffolk County. Police Commissioner Timothy Sini held a press conference Wednesday announcing better news, comparing the two years January thru March 11 crime in 2017 is down 7.2 percent from the historic lows of 2016.
At the press conference Commissioner Sini announced a 24.4 percent decrease in violent crime (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault).
An important part of the policing strategy is going after gangs, especially MS-13, of which he said “eradication of the gang in the community was a long-term objective.” Working with law enforcement agencies has resulted in the arrest of 150 MS-13 members. Homicides are down 60 percent which Sini suggested was the result of police focus on gang activity.
Sini emphasized that opiates remain one of the biggest challenges facing police. According to Sini, since the beginning of 2017 police have executed 54 drug-related search warrants 24 more than 2016, during 18 of the searches police seized illegal firearms.
While Sini emphasized the very real policing challenges that come with the county’s opiod epidemic and gang violence, there are others issues that police address.
A 7.7 percent decrease in motor vehicle crashes and a 10.5 percent decrease in motor vehicle fatalities is the result of a renewed police focus on traffic safety. Commissioner Sini credits education, enforcement and engineering for the decrease in mv crashes and fatalities. Educating the public about distracted driving is an important part of the three pronged approach to traffic safety as well as enforcing traffic laws and employing engineering to identify and correct structural problems.
What has not improved is the number of motor vehicle thefts which have risen from 178 in 2016 to 193 in 2017. Commissioner Sini attributes vehicle thefts to people who leave their car running while they run into a store. Sini’s message “Please don’t leave the car running when you are in 7-11.”
Sini thanked all the men and women police officers who risk their lives every day and he spoke of his commitment to work with local police, NYPD, FBI and Nassau police to protect the public.