Setting the Record Straight on White Plains Crime

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Businessman Nick Wolff, Councilmen Dennis Krolian, David Buchwald and John Martin, and County Legislator Bill Ryan greeted commuters at White Plains Metro North Station last week to discuss the crime rate in White Plains.

Public officials in White Plains took notice last week when New York State Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R-Goldens Bridge) released a statement attacking his opponent David Buchwald (D-White Plains) in the race for the 93 Assembly District seat. The comment, which was later rescinded, contended that violent crime in White Plains had increased by 50 percent in the last three years.

Businessman Nick Wolff, Councilmen Dennis Krolian, David Buchwald and John Martin, and County Legislator Bill Ryan greeted commuters at White Plains Metro North Station last week to discuss the crime rate in White Plains and to rectify the claims made by Assemblyman Castelli.

The fact is, according to statistics provided by White Plains Public Safety, violent crime, specifically Part 1 crimes against a person, are down 20 percent in White Plains.

White Plains Commissioner of Public Safety, David Chong, released the following statement to The White Plains Examiner in an e-mail:  “The statistics clearly speak for themselves and are readily posted on the department website. Except for the up tick in larceny due to the national economy and epidemic trend in shoplifting, crimes against persons or so called violent crime has remained virtually flat for the past two years and is down over 40 percent in the last five years. Most persons arrested for shoplifting are not White Plains residents.”

Chong continued, “Statistically, the numbers for a city with our particular dynamics, which includes a large diverse daytime commuting, shopping and commercial population, of approximately 250,000, being the center of regional government, a large commercial and retail sector, and a vibrant nightlife, clearly White Plains remains one of the safest cities to live in the United States. This is due to our involved residents and a police department that consists of, very dedicated and focused men and women.”

Mayor Tom Roach, also responding in an e-mail agreed with Commissioner Chong. “White Plains has always had a low crime rate for a city of its size and activity level and that continues to be the case,” he said.

The White Plains Department of Public Safety prepares a weekly COMPSTAT report, which is available on the department’s website. The statistics, according to department figures, further show there were 17 percent fewer violent crimes committed in White Plains in 2010 than in 2009. Specifically, there were only 69 instances of violent crime in 2010 after there were 83 in 2009.  In 2011 there were 4.5 percent fewer violent crimes than in 2010 and COMPSTAT reports so far this year indicate violent crime in the city remains relatively flat compared to 2011.

Information released by Buchwald’s campaign manager, Barry Caro, offers FBI figures, which indicate violent crime declined just over 6 percent between 2009 and 2010 in White Plains. In 2009, based on a slightly different definition of violent crime, the FBI reported there were 117 violent crimes committed in White Plains. In 2010, the FBI reported there were 110 violent crimes committed in the city. The FBI figures, while differing slightly from those of the White Plains Department of Public Safety, support the conclusions drawn from the White Plains figures. FBI figures for 2011 and 2012 are not yet available.

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