Hempstead Village crime down 19 percent, officials say
December 22, 2015
Hempstead Village officials and police announced Tuesday a 19 percent drop in crime this year compared with 2014 and a 26 percent drop over the past five years.
The village recorded six homicides this year compared with eight killings in 2014 and 12 murders in 2013. Shootings were down 36 percent this year and 43 percent over the past five years.
Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall said it was time for “very good news” in the village.
“We were successful in driving crime down the past four years,” Village Police Chief Michael McGowan said at a news conference at village hall.
Police announced initiatives to combat violent crime and reduce shootings, such as the gunshot recognition technology ShotSpotter with 40 new high-definition street-level cameras to identify shooting suspects. The village is partnering with Nassau County and uses $320,000 in state grants. Police also work with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Overall, violent crime was down 14 percent for 2015; motor vehicle theft was down 37 percent; and property crime was down 23 percent. Assaults were the only category that were on the incline in 2015 — 156 assaults in 2015 versus 152 in 2014 — but assaults were down 13 percent over five years. McGowan said assaults are up statewide and generally are crimes of opportunity.
Village officials reported the crime numbers on the eve of a plan to rename Dartmouth Street on Wednesday for 12-year-old Dejah Joyner, who in October was struck in the head by a stray bullet while in her parents’ living room. The killing remains unsolved and under investigation.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas and Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter noted the police work that led to the drop in crime and shootings.
“We’re congratulating the village at a time when the rest of the country is struggling to maintain the crime levels Hempstead has achieved,” Krumpter said. The village increased its arrests by 2 percent in 2015 with additional patrols at “hot spots” known for high numbers of crimes, as determined by crime analysis figures. Police used crime stats to target gang activity and make arrests for wanted felons and weapons violations, McGowan said. Police will continue to focus on gang prevention and intervention in schools.
Hempstead is also partnering with Nassau County to increase DWI patrols throughout the village. The DWI patrols will be targeted between the Hempstead LIRR station and Hofstra University.
The final initiative planned next year will equip Hempstead police with automatic license plate readers to identify stolen vehicles and license plates of drivers with suspended licenses and outstanding warrants, Hall said.
Officials said police in the state’s largest village continue to have strong community relations.
“Our residents deserve a safe village, and that’s exactly what they’ll get,” Councilman Don Ryan said. “May the best of this year be the worst of next year.”