Report shows 2013 drop in crime in Middletown

There was some good in the Middletown Police Department’s annual report — crime, in particular violent crime, dropped significantly in 2013 compared to 2012.

The department’s annual report, which is available on the city’s website, shows a 50 percent drop in violent crime and a 10 percent drop in property crime. Crime numbers are also down compared to the five-year averages.

Violent crime went up in 2012 — robberies, in particular, spiked sharply. There were also no homicides in 2013, except for one man who died in early January as a result of injuries from a fight suffered in summer 2012.

Part Two offenses — a category that includes arson, drugs, weapons offenses, prostitution, drunk driving and misdemeanor assault — dropped overall, from 4,329 to 4,074. The number of narcotics offenses increased sharply in 2013, while most other categories dropped. Arrests dropped 33 percent for the Part One offenses, increased 3 percent for Part Two, led by a 27 percent spike in drug arrests. Arrests for city code violations dropped 9 percent, from 458 in 2012 to 416 in 2013. The number of traffic tickets went up a bit, from 5,872 to 5,918.

In his State of the City speech Tuesday night, Mayor Joe DeStefano attributed some of the drop to restructuring the police department’s operations to put more patrols on the street, to the increased use of foot patrols, and to the public outreach efforts police took to combat the rash of burglaries in 2012 and early 2013.

State statistics show drops in many crime categories in 2013 in many of the Operation IMPACT jurisdictions, including, locally, in Kingston, Newburgh and Poughkeepsie, although the declines there were generally less steep than in Middletown. Poughkeepsie surprised me a bit; it seems like you hear about another stabbing or shooting there every week, almost. (Violent crime overall actually did drop in Poughkeepsie, although gun crime, which tends to get more public and media attention than, say, barfights and strong-arm robberies, was up sharply.) Also, bear in mind that Middletown has less crime overall than either Newburgh or Poughkeepsie, so a drop in numbers in Middletown is more likely to lead to larger percentage variations here than it is in either of those cities.

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