Numbers and statistics can be a wonderful thing when trying to prove a point, particularly since they can be manipulated. While it's true that "stats" are indisputable figures, the presentation of numbers and the omission of others often do not tell the whole story. Take crime statistics, for example.
A press release sent out by the Nassau County Executive's press office stated that the latest Nassau County crime statistics show an all-time record decrease of 12.6 percent in major crime this past year. Major crimes are considered murder, first degree rape, first degree criminal sex act, first degree sexual abuse, commercial robbery, robbery (other), felony assault, residential burglary, commercial burglary, stolen vehicles and grand larceny.
But, if crime is, in fact, down in the county as a whole, how are local communities faring? Let's look at the major crime statistics in the Third Precinct, which provides service to Mineola as well as many other communities: According to NASS-STAT, the Nassau Police Department's crime reporting statistics, there were 1,815 major crime reports in a one-year period from Dec. 27, 2005 to Nov. 27, 2006. There were then 1,678 major crimes reported from Dec. 26, 2006 to Nov. 26, 2007. So, major crime is down in the Third Precinct.
However, perhaps the biggest concern among Nassau residents is that they feel secure in their own homes. Yet, residential burglaries went from 180 in 2006 to 197 in 2007, an increase of 9.44 percent, in the Third Precinct.
Also, we must consider the source of the crime statistics we are using to make a point that crime is down. According to New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Nassau County Police Department had 1,793 violent crimes (including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) and 14,421 property crimes (including burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) reported in 2005 while in 2006, statistics seem to indicate that crime rose. According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service, the county police department reported 1,813 violent crimes and 14,713 property crimes in 2006.
While crime may have then gone down statistically in 2007, taxpayers in Nassau County should be seeing a trend of decreasing crime of at least a few years before they can proclaim Nassau County as the "safest large suburban county in the nation" as the police commissioner proclaimed.