Riverhead crime up 3 percent last year as robberies nearly double

Criminal incidents in Riverhead rose 3 percent in 2012, a year that saw robberies increase 41 percent, according to an annual report released by the Riverhead Police Department.

There were 3,791 incidents in 2012, up from 3,685 in 2011, according to a year-end report from the department, provided to the News-Review by the town clerk’s office last Thursday.

The 2012 stats were also slightly higher than two years ago, when there were 3,772 reported criminal incidents, reports show.

However, total incidents in 2012 were down from higher totals in 2009, 2008, and 2007, according to prior crime reports.

Robberies nearly doubled to 29 reports in the last year, up from 17 in 2011, a year that represented the lowest total in at least four years, according to police data.

While larcenies and criminal mischief reports were up last year from 2011, the year-end report shows vehicle accidents, assaults, motor vehicle thefts and burglaries were all slightly down.

Driving under the influence incidents were also higher in 2012, with 195 incidents compared to 156 the year before. The arrests spiked in the summer, when Riverhead police participated in the East End Drug Task Force.

Police officials have said the increased checkpoints and traffic stops meant more people were being caught driving drunk, according to a previous News-Review report.

No murders were reported in Riverhead in 2012, despite the killing of Yohana Garcia Mancilla last spring.

It was not made clear why the homicide case was not listed on the report.

Police reported no kidnappings, extortions, liquor law violations, public intoxication incidents, suicides, animal bites or firearms accidents in 2012, according to the document.

Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the increase in crime was relatively small compared to recent years, and credited year-to-year fluctuations for the higher stats in 2012.

“You can’t look at this in a vacuum, some numbers are up, some numbers are down,” he said. “The numbers are relatively flat across all lines, there was no spike.”

Mr. Walter said he was satisfied with the job the police department was doing and praised their increased presence downtown.

“I think the police department … both the brass and the PBA are going a great job in keeping people safe,” he said.

When reached at home Monday afternoon, Police Chief David Hegermiller said he couldn’t comment on the numbers because he didn’t have them in front of him, though he commented earlier that day to a local news site on the same report.

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