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What you need to know for 12/11/2017

FBI: Property crimes down locally; violent crimes fluctuate

FBI: Property crimes down locally; violent crimes fluctuate

Local numbers follow national trend, feds say
FBI: Property crimes down locally; violent crimes fluctuate
A city police car stands by in front of a Schenectady Street home where a woman was fatally shot in September 2016.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

Property crimes continued a downward trend in the region in 2016, while violent crimes fluctuated among local cities, according to crime statistics released by the FBI on Monday.

The local numbers followed national trends, according to the FBI. Nationally, violent crime — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — rose 4.1 percent in 2016, while property crime — burglary, theft and arson — decreased 1.3 percent year to year.

Schenectady saw 595 violent crimes in 2016, up 20 from 575 in 2014, about 3.5 percent. Property crimes decreased during that same time period from 2,518 to 2,100, about 16 percent. 

FOSS: Rise in violent crime should concern us all

Schenectady's 2015 numbers were not available because of a computer reporting error officials are working to fix.

Albany's violent crimes increased to 848 in 2016, up when compared to both 2014 and 2015. Albany saw 802 violent crimes in 2014 and 793 in 2015. The 2016 number is about a 5.7 percent increase over 2014.

Albany also saw a drop in property crimes when compared to 2014, but an increase over 2015. Albany saw 3,888 in 2014, 3,211 in 2015 and 3,461 in 2016. That's a nearly 11 percent drop since 2014, but a 7.7 percent increase over 2015.

Officials from both Albany and Schenectady could not be reached for detailed comment on the numbers.

Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford, who was out Monday, said via text that his department compares current figures with a five-year average. 

"That gives a more realistic idea of how we are doing," Clifford said. "If one year crime is high, it's easy to see it reduce the next year and say that you are doing great. Conversely, if one year crime is low, it's not realistic to be critical if it goes up slightly."

Clifford, however, said he couldn't comment on the 2016 numbers until he could compare them to what the department has analyzed itself.

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy hadn't seen the FBI data, but he said internal numbers show the general trend as down. 

Regardless, McCarthy said they're working to get the numbers lower. He anticipated working with other agencies in the near future to help with that.

Acting Albany Police Chief Robert Sears was not available to comment on his department's numbers Monday.

Numbers for other cities in the Capital Region:

Amsterdam: Violent crime was down in 2016 over the previous two years. The city recorded 23 in 2016, versus 27 in 2014 and 30 in 2015. Property crimes were also down — 324 in 2016, compared with 490 in 2014 and 497 in 2015.

Gloversville: Violent crimes increased to 93 in 2016, from 82 in 2015 and 39 in 2014. Gloversville Police Chief Marc Porter has attributed the 2014-2015 jump to a change in reporting. Gloversville also saw a drop in property crimes, to 444 in 2016, compared with 677 in 2014 and 624 in 2015.

Saratoga Springs: Violent crimes were steady from 2014 to 2016 at 64, dipping to 58 in 2015. Property crimes are also on a downward trend, from 590 in 2014 to 547 in 2015 and 527 in 2016.

Troy: Violent crime has increased since 2014, from 350 in 2014 to 362 in 2016, peaking at 428 in 2015. Property crimes have dropped from 2,182 in 2014 to 2,013 in 2015 and 1,792 in 2016.

The FBI numbers follow ones released over the summer that tagged Schenectady County with the highest crime rate among counties in the state, recording 3,038 total crimes per 100,000 people. Critics of those comparisons cited Schenectady's small geographic size and dense population as a reason for the ranking.

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