Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Reported crimes decline as more officers added to the force

Reported+crimes+decline+as+more+officers+added+to+the+force
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Reported crimes in Peekskill continued to decline in the first nine months of 2023, extending a trend that matches an increase in the number of officers on the Peekskill Police force.

According to statistics released by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, overall crime reports in Peekskill dropped by 8 percent through September 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Property crimes plummeted by 11 percent, dropping to 185 from 209. Larceny fell 12 percent (167 vs 190), burglary 9 percent (10 vs 11) and motor vehicle theft stayed flat at eight. Violent crime increased slightly to 52 in the first nine months of 2023 compared to 50 in 2022  with nine reported robberies compared to four in 2022. Aggravated assaults declined by 7 percent, from 44 in 2022 to 41 through nine months in 2023.

Peekskill City Manager Matt Alexander calls the reduction in crime a result of the city’s addition of more officers to the police department.

The most recent Peekskill police department hire, Officer Anthony Tarantino, shown here in third from left on the day he was sworn in by Deputy Clerk Jeanette Moore. Chief Leo Dylewski is to his right and Det. Adam Renwick is on the far left.

“The [reduced crime] numbers correlate with the increase in the police department employees,” Alexander told The Herald. “In the Fall of 2021, the police department was down to 44 patrol officers and it is now up to 53 officers, a 20 percent increase.

“The Chief [Leo Dylewski] and I think that this is an important contributing factor in this reduced crime report. It represents a police force that is much more able to proactively patrol, investigate and take appropriate action,” Alexander said.

Like much of the nation, Peekskill saw a surge in crime rates from 2021 to 2022, the same period when the local police force was severely understaffed.

Total crimes reported in Peekskill went from 136 in 2021 to 259 in 2022, an increase of 90 percent. Aggravated assaults rose to 44 in 2022 compared to 13 in 2021 and reports of larceny increased to 190 from 112.

Periods of increased in crime in Peekskill can be partially explained by the increase in overall population, Alexander noted. “Another important factor is the sheer number of new people who have moved into Peekskill over the past few years, with 5 percent growth in some single years alone,” he said.

He also noted that another contributing factor was the number of warrants which were not acted upon during the pandemic and carried over into 2022 and 2023.

Leo Dylewski, Peekskill’s police chief, left, with Matt Alexander, city manager.

National trends now of reduced crime track the same pattern in Peekskill of crime decreasing. According to national statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime in the U.S. declined by 8.2 percent nationwide in the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

New York City statistics reveal the same results, with homicides dropping by 11.9 percent in 2023 compared to 2022 and shootings declining by almost 25 percent. Increases in felony assault and grand larceny auto rose, however, leaving overall crime down just 0.3 percent in New York City.

However, the public’s perception of their daily encounters with crime doesn’t reflect the reported statistics. The Gallup Poll survey on crime reports that 63 percent of the American public consider crime “extremely serious” or “very serious,” the highest number since the question was first asked in 2000.

With the lingering effects of the pandemic receding, and a renewed focus on enforcing the law through increased police staffing, Alexander said that Peekskill police have increased their Quality of Life patrols and officers could produce more arrests while they actively look for issues.

“The stats for the City do indicate that there is a need for vigilance and preparedness when it comes to being well staffed in the police department,” Alexander said. “The Police Department has made some impressive arrests based on solid police work. And the City does intend on a further increase in staff through the end of 2024.”

 

 

 

About the Contributor
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.