CLARIFICATION: During the editing process, information on Westchester County crime was attributed to the Westchester County Department of Public Safety's spokesperson. The crime statistics were released by New York State.
PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Reported crime in Port Chester increased by more than 30 percent from 2010 to 2011, the most recent period for which statistics are available.
The upward trend is reflected throughout Westchester County, according to the latest statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Municipalities are required to send crime statistics to the state every month. The 2012 statistics have not yet been compiled by the state.
There are a number of reasons for the increase, said Lt. Jim Ladeairous of the Port Chester Police Department, including high population density and financial difficulties that extend from residents to the village itself.
“Municipalities are hurting now, too. We don’t have as many officers out on the street that can be proactive, as opposed to answering calls,” said Ladeiarous. “We have less people working so we’ve got to use everything we can for patrol.”
In Port Chester, 959 crimes were reported in 2011, up more than 30 percent from the 729 reported in 2010. Of those crimes, 77 were violent, with one murder, two forcible rapes, 45 robberies and 29 aggravated assaults. Of all reported crimes, 882 were property crimes, with 740 larcenies, 85 burglaries and 57 motor vehicle thefts.
The high immigrant population in Port Chester may be more willing to report crimes without fear of reprisal, Ladeairous says. “There’s been so much publicity that local police don’t care where you’re from, so maybe that pushed more people to come forward, but that’s only a guess,” he said.
Countywide, reported crimes went up from 15,388 in 2010 to 16,037 in 2011, according to the report, but were down about 4 percent overall in the past four years.
About 15 percent of all crimes reported in Westchester County in 2011 were violent crimes. But violent crime decreased 0.3 percent in 2011 compared with 2010. About 85 percent of all crimes reported in Westchester County in 2011 were property-related, with a 5 percent increase over 2010.
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety received 166 crime reports in 2011, down from 278 in 2010, Westchester County Police spokesman Kieran O’Leary said. But individual municipal and overall county numbers are most accurate in depicting crime levels and trends, O'Leary said.
“Westchester County police are primarily a parkway patrol, so when it comes to county police numbers, it tends to be a little tricky,” O’Leary said. “We don’t operate in every municipality in the county. One year we might respond to an assault in Cortlandt, but it doesn’t mean there’s fewer assaults. We just happened to be available.”
The Westchester County Metropolitan Transit Authority reported a total of 120 crimes in 2011 compared with 119 in 2010. But reported crime has increased 90 percent since 2009 when just 63 crimes were reported, according to the state.
“In general, it is accurate to say that all of our crime categories are steady or declining over the five years [from 2007 to 2011], except for larcenies," said Aaron Donovan, media liaison for the MTA. But, he said, he can’t vouch for the accuracy of the state data without further research.
The uptick in larcenies stem from the widespread increased use of expensive handheld electronic devices, which are easy targets for thieves, Donovan says.
“It’s important for Metro-North customers to remember to always be alert while traveling and make a point of safeguarding expensive electronics while riding on the rails,” he says.
To see how your town compares among the county in reported crime, visit the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services website.