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Police stats show crime down once again in Riverhead

Criminal incidents were once again down in Riverhead Town, continuing a trend for the past seven years.

Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said the town will now be able to break down police statistics even further so that police can pinpoint hot spots for crime or traffic accidents.

The department has always filed monthly reports showing how frequently various crimes occurred in the town. Those reports, which are filed in the Town Clerk’s office, were often several months behind.

But at the request of the Town Board this year, the police department now issues not only the monthly report, but also breakdowns by sector, tour (night, day, etc.) and it includes more categories, such as how many times Narcan was administered to a person overdosing. 

Those new statistics have only been accumulated for the past few months, Chief Hegermiller said.

As far as Narcan uses and overdoes figures, police do get an end of year report on those categories from the Suffolk County Medical Examiners’ office, he said.

In December, there were six overdoses reported to police in which Narcan was used, and two of them died.

But those statistics are just the cases reported to police.

Since the public, or other agencies, can get Narcan, there could be additional instances police were unaware of.

Chief Hegermiller estimated that there were six or seven overdose deaths in Riverhead Town in 2018.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith asked if the town can map motor vehicle accidents in order to determine which roads are most dangerous.

Chief Hegermiller said his department now has LexisNexis, a computer research program, that will enable the town to do so.

He said various types of crimes also can be mapped, so that if there’s an overdose, for instance, “it goes right on to a map … this way, we’re able to see if there is some kind of hot spot.”

• Stats

According to the town statistics, criminal mischief incidents were down from 2,756 in 2017 to 1,816 last year. But non-criminal incidents were up, from 12,830 to 24,892, so overall calls for service were up.

Among specific types of crimes, larceny was down from 884 to 702; arrests were down from 1,016 to 822; robbery was down from 26 to 19; sexual offenses were down from 27 to 21; and murder stayed at zero.

Burglary was up, 68 to 92, although Chief Hegermiller believes that figure is a mistake and said the correct number is lower.

The number of motor vehicle accidents remained similar to last year (2,166 in 2018 to 2,153 in 2017).

There were no 2018 statistics provided for driving while intoxicated, possession of a controlled substance or prostitution, categories included in prior years’ reports.

Chief Hegermiller said that overall, “it’s pretty much status quo. Things are good.”

The decline in criminal incidents has been a trend elsewhere in recent years as well, officials say.

The Suffolk County and Nassau County police departments both reported drops in crimes in 2018, and Southampton Town Police reported a drop in major crimes in September.

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