Saugerties crime stats: Felonies up, misdemeanors and car/pedestrian accidents down

Chief Joseph Sinagra (photo by Dan Barton)

Statistics released by the Saugerties Police Department for January through November of 2018 show a spike in felony offenses since 2017, but reduced numbers of misdemeanors and total crimes. This is mirrored in national trends, according to Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra.

Most of the 76 recorded felonies this year, as opposed to the 52 in 2017, were the result of crimes against property — stolen jewelry, vandalism, criminal mischief and general damage to or loss of property — rather than violent crimes, said the chief. “Although charges are up, it’s not a reflection of crimes against people.”

Sinagra attributes this, partially, to a higher replacement value for damaged or lost items — goods are just becoming more expensive every year, pushing what would be misdemeanor crimes up to felonies. A total of 177 misdemeanors were recorded, not including arrests made in December, as opposed to 224 in 2017.

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Only one pedestrian was hit this year, a drastic decline from the 14 recorded in 2013; since that year, the number has been steadily declining. Sinagra said that this single accident was caused by error on the pedestrian’s behalf rather than the operator of the vehicle that struck them.

“Although some people thought we were being overzealous in our pedestrian safety efforts, the numbers show that our efforts were worth it,” said Sinagra. “We’ve seen a drastic decrease in pedestrians’ accidents. It’s an ongoing educational effort but it pays off in the end. When you look at the big picture, people aren’t going to the hospital which lowers insurance premiums. We have a healthier society for it.”

Similarly, there were no fatal car accidents between January and November of 2018; last year there were three. The amount of car accidents fell drastically — 578 as opposed to 638 in 2017.

Although statistics are not yet available for the number of mental hygiene arrests — instances where, due to an individual’s possible inclination to hurt themselves or others, that individual is involuntarily transported to the closest hospital — Sinagra said that they have been gradually increasing each year, and predicts that 2018 will be no different. In 2016, 117 such transports were carried out; in 2017, there were 148.

“It’s a direct reflection of the dismantled healthcare system that we have in this country, particularly New York State,” Sinagra posited. “We see more and more people that are suffering from mental health issues that are not getting the intensive, daily care that they need.”

Two-hundred eighty-one detective cases were opened between January and November of 2018 as opposed to 346 in 2017 — Sinagra said that the numbers would be closer after the numbers of cases opened in December were factored in.

Throughout 2018, including December, the total number of complaints called into the department came to 24,594, in comparison to the 21,973 tallied in 2017.

More robust data, including numbers for December 2018 and a more involved breakdown of types of crimes will be available in January or February. Sinagra said to get a truly accurate picture of policing trends, these reports would need to be considered. Additionally, data would need to be cross-referenced with that of the sheriff’s office and the State Department of Environmental Conservation police, who also respond to calls in Saugerties. Mandated as a term of the department’s continued status as an accredited agency in the state, Sinagra said that compiling these statistics each year helped the department “stay ahead of the curve” in their policing.

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