GovernmentThe White Plains Examiner

Latimer: Westchester is Safer Today Than Four Years Ago

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County Executive George Latimer trumpeted a significant decrease in crime in 2021 last week compared to the same nine-month period in 2017.

County Executive George Latimer unveiled statistics last week showing sharp drops in all major crime categories over the past four years in Westchester.

In a comparison of the first nine months of 2021 with the first nine months of 2017, Latimer noted that eight major index crimes – defined by the FBI as willful homicide, forcible rape, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, larceny over $50, motor vehicle theft and arson – fell by 26.5 percent.

Violent crime dropped 27.6 percent and property crime went down 26.3 percent.

He did not include the final quarter of last year because those statistics were not yet available.

“What you see in some places around the state, crime increasing, is not happening in Westchester County,” Latimer said. “Crime is continuing to drop and I credit all the brave men and women in uniform for this positive trend.”

Latimer’s presentation of the statistics came a few weeks after a highly publicized video of a smash-and-grab at the Louis Vuitton store in The Westchester in White Plains. That incident prompted concerns among some residents that the crime surge in New York City may take hold in Westchester.

It has also been referenced by some political players who may be looking to put county leadership and some elected officials in an unflattering light, said Latimer, who was uncharacteristically blunt in calling out critics.

“The perception is maybe based on what you see in a video,” Latimer said. “It may also be based on those people who want to sell you a philosophy. They will try very hard to look at these numbers and reinterpret these numbers somehow in order to try and keep their narrative alive. But the narrative is not correct; the narrative is incorrect and if you purposely advance a narrative that you know is incorrect then you’re lying, you’re purposely lying.”

Thomas Gleason, the county’s commissioner of public safety, said that preventative policing by the county police in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, community policing and the use of the county’s Real Time Crime Center has made Westchester safer.

“The combined efforts of all our law enforcement agencies in the county, working collaboratively, is a huge reason for this large reduction in major crimes,” Gleason said.

Latimer also seemed to be alluding to critics, some of whom have tried to link Democratic elected officials with being soft on crime. He said the county is spending $52.8 million this year to pay for the county police and related law enforcement services.

Statistics cited in the presentation were provided by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services.

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