Overall violent crime in Suffolk dropped in 2013 by more than 4 percent from the year before, but murder and manslaughter rose by more than 17 percent, according to the latest yearly figures provided by Suffolk police.
The decline in total violent offenses -- which also include rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- has continued in the first four months of 2014. So too has a drop in property crimes -- burglary and larceny, for example -- compared with the same period in 2013.
There have been nearly 8 percent fewer violent and property crimes in Suffolk from Jan. 1 to April 30 this year than during the same period in 2013, according to the Suffolk police data.
Total violent crimes from January to April this year fell 19.38 percent, to 416, from 516 reported in 2013. Property crime fell 7 percent, to 5,843 in 2014, from 6,283 reported in 2013.
For all of 2013, Suffolk police reported a total of 1,712 violent crimes, which represents a 4.09 percent decrease from the 1,785 reported in 2012. There were 20,581 property crimes reported in 2013, an 8.25 percent dip from the 22,431 reported in 2012.
But murder/manslaughter offenses went up from 23 committed in 2012 to 27 in 2013, a 17.4 percent increase.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and police officials touted the steady decline in violent and property offenses during a morning news conference Wednesday at the county's H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge.
"Policing decisions have been made based on what has been happening in the community and resources have been directed in a way that helps us to prevent crime, not just respond to crime," Bellone said.
He said the decline can be credited to reforms his administration put in place and the police department's adopting federal post-9/11 strategy recommendations for local police.
The Suffolk police statistics show a modest decline compared with state figures measuring violent and property crime in the entire county. The 8.91 percent decline from 2012 to 2013 reported by the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services includes police departments in East End towns and hamlets.
Chief of Department James Burke said police efforts targeting crime patterns and criminals who specialize in certain areas also helped.
To date, Burke said, Suffolk police have arrested 248 people who are each proficient in a specific crime pattern. Investigators have identified 141 such patterns and 95 of those patterns were cleared by arrests, Burke said.
Burke said the department's newly created Pattern Crime Unit, which law enforcement officers said was formerly the Major Case squad, investigated 84 cases and cleared 57 of them.
Crime Pattern No. 1305, for example, titled "The Chinese Fast Food Burglaries," consisted of 27 thefts. Burke said investigators were able to zero in on a suspect and made an arrest.
"That one subject was responsible for 20 percent of the county's commercial burglaries at the time," Burke said.