New York Ranks One of Five Safest States

The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) recently reported some good news: New York remains the safest large state in the nation and the fifth safest state overall.

According to a study recently published by the DCJS, over the past 10 years, the overall rate of index crimes per 100,000 residents declined 26 percent; the rate of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) fell 30% and property crimes (burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft) were down 24%. The largest reductions in crime rates were reported for motor vehicle theft, robbery, and burglary. Since 1990, the rate of crime per 100,000 residents has dropped 62%.

While New York State’s crime rate has decreased over the past 10 years, New York has also reported a significant reduction in the actual number of crimes reported. There were 136,619 fewer crimes reported in 2009 than in 2000, while the population of the State increased by half a million. As of June 2010, there were 30,605 registered sex offenders in New York.

Our communities should be proud of this trend. The statistics show that law enforcement agencies work hard and methodically to help lower crime rates so that we can feel safe when we go home at night. Through technology, we can track sex offenders ourselves and take actions to protect our families. State laws, enforcement agencies and community groups have taken strides to assure safer communities through heightened awareness of sex offenders, more awareness of domestic violence, and tougher DWI laws. I hope such good statistical report cards continue, however, we can’t rest on our laurels. Laws passed in recent years have expanded the DNA database bank but we can do more to expand it further.

Between 1999 and 2006, the DNA databank linked 2,499 offenders to 3,916 crimes across the state. According to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice, as many as 60,000 more samples will be added to the databank within the next year, which will link more criminals to unsolved crimes. The DNA databank was expanded to include more offenders in 2004 and again in 2006, however, anyone arrested should have to provide a DNA sample to be added to the bank. This is one relatively simple way we can go about providing even safer communities and bringing justice to families. I support legislation that would expand the DNA databank. Most criminals do not specialize in one type of crime and statistics show that many violent felons have been previously arrested for misdemeanors.

Operation SAFE CHILD available at the Fair

The New York State Sheriffs' Association once again will offer the Operation SAFE CHILD program at the Great New York State Fair, through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

The free program provides parents or legal guardians with a card that contains their child’s vital information, including date of birth, gender, height, weight and eye color, along with a photograph and fingerprint images of both index fingers. From start to finish, the entire process takes less than two minutes. The Operation SAFE CHILD booth will be located in the Center of Progress Building (Booth S-1), next to the main lobby entrance; exhibit buildings open at 10 a.m. Working in conjunction with the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, sheriffs from across the state and their deputies will volunteer their time to help families either update their existing SAFE CHILD cards or obtain one for the first time.

In addition to receiving a SAFE CHILD card, parents can agree to have their child’s information stored in a secure database at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services so that it can be disseminated instantly if that child is abducted or lost. When a child is reported missing, time can be the greatest adversary. Possessing up-to-date photographs and detailed information about a child assists law enforcement in quickly responding to a disappearance and can dramatically increase the possibility of safe return.

When used in conjunction with AMBER Alert or the New York State Missing Child Alert program, the SAFE CHILD card serves as a valuable tool by quickly providing identifying details to law enforcement agencies investigating child disappearances. By the closing date of this year’s New York State Fair, it is estimated that more than 400,000 children statewide will be enrolled in the SAFE CHILD program. I encourage you to help the Sheriff’s Department exceed their goal.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at or by calling (315) 598-5185.