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Police union chief: Precinct mergers spiked Nassau crime

The Nassau Police Sixth Precinct in Manhasset. (April

The Nassau Police Sixth Precinct in Manhasset. (April 16, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The merger of county police precincts in Nassau has led to increases in crime, James Carver, president of Nassau's Police Benevolent Association, said Wednesday.

At a news conference in Mineola, Carver cited crime statistics in a Newsday story Wednesday showing that major crime has spiked this year in two of the three precincts that merged last year under a cost-cutting plan. "People should be alarmed about that," he said.

Carver has said the major crime spikes "validated" the union's concerns, voiced before the merger was approved.

In a statement, Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale did not comment on Carver's news conference. Instead, he said Newsday reported "misleading crime statistics that inaccurately portrayed the state of Nassau County."

Dale said major crime is down by 0.29 percent year to date, total crime has decreased by 8 percent, misdemeanors and felonies are down by 652 cases, and crime is down by more than 10 percent since Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano took office three years ago.

While citing overall county statistics, Dale's statement did not address the focus of the Newsday story about an increase in major crimes in two of the three police precincts that merged last year. From Jan. 1 to April 1 of this year, those crimes increased 18.91 percent in the northwest precinct and 10.93 percent in the southwest precinct.

The story noted that total countywide crime reports fell 7.36 percent while major crime countywide increased 1.24 percent based on the first three months of the year. Dale's statement cited more up-to-date numbers.

The story quoted Nassau police as saying the first-quarter spikes are misleading because county crime is at such low levels that even just a handful of incidents can drive a percentage increase.

The precinct merger plan, intended to save $20 million for a county whose finances are controlled by a state monitoring board, sought to cut in half the number of police precincts and reduce the head count of supervisors. The last of the mergers, to create a southeast precinct by moving the First Precinct into the Seventh, was postponed indefinitely earlier this month.

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