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Police: Weak Economy Drives Up White Plains Crime Stats

Crime rose about 11 percent from 2010 to 2011 in White Plains, with the greatest increase seen in property theft.
Crime rose about 11 percent from 2010 to 2011 in White Plains, with the greatest increase seen in property theft. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

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.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Reported crime in White Plains increased by about 11 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.

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.

Municipalities are required to send crime statistics to the state every month. The 2012 statistics have not yet been compiled by the state.

Of all the 1,352 reported crimes in 2011 in White Plains, 1,265 were property crimes, a five-year high. There were two less burglaries in 2011, 46, than 2010, 48, and the same amount of motor vehicle thefts 29. However, there were 1,190 larcenies, 173 more than 2010, 1,017.

“For each of the years in which you see an increase it has predominantly been property crimes, in particular shoplifting,” FitzSimmons said. “White Plains has a large retail presence. We have been working with the stores and have been collaborating on tactics to reduce these crimes, which may be associated with the economy.”

The 1,352 crimes reported in 2011 is up about 11 percent from the 1,204 reported in 2010. Of those crimes, 87 were violent, with one murder, three forcible rapes, 29 robberies and 54 aggravated assaults.

About 15 percent of all crimes reported in Westchester County in 2011 were violent crimes. But violent crime decreased .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, said Westchester County Police spokesperson Kieran O’Leary. 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 Metropolitan Transit Authority reported that Metro-Police handled a total of 120 crimes in Westchester 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 stems 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 with others in the county in reported crime, visit the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services' website .

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