By Connor Beach
Crime in Suffolk County reached record-low numbers last year, according to statistics released by Suffolk police at the end of December.
Suffolk County officials announced at a Dec. 30 press conference the county has seen a 12 percent drop in total index crime from 2017 to 2018. Violent crime fell 22.2 percent countywide, and total property crime fell 11.2 percent, according to Suffolk police.
“This county remains and is now safer than it has ever been before,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
Bellone said crime in Suffolk remains at “historically low levels,” following a reduction in crime numbers each year since 2014.
Bellone credited the police department’s community outreach programs with creating a sense of trust between the community and police.
“We understand that in order to continue to drive crime down off of these historically low levels we need the cooperation and assistance of the people in the community to help us in this effort,” Bellone said.
Crime in the Second Precinct, which incorporates the Town of Huntington, also decreased in 2018. Between 2017 and November 2018, total crime fell 19.6 percent, violent crime decreased by 28 percent and property crime was reduced by 18.9 percent in Huntington.
Statistics from the Second Precinct show there were 43 robberies, 59 aggravated assaults, two forcible rapes and no murders in Huntington in the first 11 months of 2018. The only crime statistic to increase from 2017-2018 was sex offenses other than forcible rape.
There were nine of these crimes in 2017 and 12 in 2018.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said “intelligence led policing” allows officers to concentrate patrols in the areas most affected by violent crime.
Hart said the work of specialized units like the firearms suppression team and human trafficking unit has enabled the department to target and investigate the most serious criminals.
The commissioner’s office has also brought on a Hispanic community liaison assistant to help conduct outreach to Spanish-speaking communities, Hart said.
Both Bellone and Hart praised the work of Suffolk police officers in keeping county residents safe.
“There are a number of reasons we are experiencing these record low numbers,” Hart said. “The number one reason is the men and women of this police department.”
Statistics for the Second Precinct show total crime in Huntington has decreased by 40.8 percent since 2008.