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Hempstead Village police report drop in crime in 2017

Hempstead Village Police, seen here on Dec. 25,

Hempstead Village Police, seen here on Dec. 25, 1017, say crime is down 19 percent in 2017 compared with 2106. Credit: BRAD TRETTIEN

Hempstead Village officials said they marked a 19 percent drop in crime last year compared with 2016.

In 2016, 768 crimes were reported in the village of 55,000 with 2017 showing 622, Hempstead Village Police said.

The village recorded six killings last year, which Mayor Don Ryan and Police Chief Michael McGowan said was a 25 percent drop in homicides. Half of those last year tragically came in a triple slaying after a domestic dispute in August.

Hempstead police reported eight homicides in 2016, although the FBI uniform crime stats counted six murders that year. The village has had a five-year average of nine deaths per year.

Hempstead officials reported a 15 percent drop in violent crime in 2017, with accounting for 282 homicides, rapes, robberies and assaults.

A village spokesman said Hempstead police and the FBI categorize crime stats differently. Hempstead reported 331 violent crimes in 2016 compared with 400 reported by the FBI.

“This drastic reduction in crime is a product of the continued hard work by a dedicated police department,” McGowan said.

The village has put into place new technology and patrols, such as the ShotSpotter gunshot recognition system, surveillance cameras and new LED lighting. Police also added a dozen license plate readers in March to track stolen vehicles and fugitives.

Hempstead police also formed an anti-gang task force at the end of 2016, prompted by an increase in gang activity and a 45 percent rise in shootings.

Police reported a 43 percent drop in shooting victims last year, down to 21, from 37 in 2016. The village carries the third largest police force on Long Island,with 128 sworn officers, behind the Nassau and Suffolk counties’ forces.

“Across the board we are seeing numbers that clearly show the programs, procedures and technologies we have in place are effective,” Ryan said. “And while we are always looking at ways to improve, it’s certainly encouraging knowing that our law enforcement efforts are making a positive difference.”

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