Ithaca Police Department recently published a two-year report of crimes in Ithaca, showing a decrease in reported offenses in nearly every category from 2018 to 2019 — mirroring broader statewide trends.
One of the most drastic decreases in reported crime in Ithaca was robbery, which decreased by 70 percent from 30 incidents to nine incidents in 2019 — a trend echoed by New York state, which saw a 10.2 percent decrease in the incidents of robbery, according to a 2019 report released by the NY State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
New York also reported that the aggregate of crimes has decreased by 3.6 percent across the state.
Other categories of drastic reduction in Ithaca were liquor law violations, which decreased by nearly 86 percent, from 21 to 3 incidents, and possession of controlled substances, which decreased by 54 percent, from 89 to 41 incidents.
Arrests in Ithaca decreased in every category, with the most significant change being in violation arrests — arrests for actions that are neither a felony nor a misdemeanor — which saw a reduction of 44.6 percent, from 769 to 426 incidents.
“There are a lot of causation factors, and I don’t know all of them,” Ithaca Police Chief Dennis Nayor said about the across the board decrease in crime reports. The small data set, according to Nayor, precludes any conclusions about larger trends.
The report noted that eight positions at the IPD are currently vacant, which might suggest less active policing this year compared to other years.
The number of mental health calls received by the IPD increased by 11.1 percent, from 287 to 319 calls. Nayor said he found this change unsurprising.
“I don’t know if it’s something societally or if people are struggling more,” Nayor said. “I don’t know if anyone knows why it’s a problem nationally.”
The report also includes data on allocation of training hours for police based on category, including “Fair and Impartial Policing” and “Mental Health Aid for Public Safety.”
Nayor said that the public is not always aware of the work done by the IPD — the report, included photographs of officers posing with children and at public events, aiming to bring to light the day-to-day life of IPD officers.
“I think it’s always important for the community to know where their tax money is going,” Nayor said. “It’s important to inspire confidence in the police.” Nayor added that the community should be aware of current trends in local crime rates.