Gloversville Police Chief gives statistical quarterly report

Gloversville Police Chief Marc Porter reviewed the department's statistical quarterly report for the Common Council during Tuesday's meeting that shows increases in police activity in most areas over the same period last year. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Police Chief Marc Porter delivered the department’s statistical quarterly report to the Common Council during Tuesday’s meeting that showed increases in police activity in most areas over the same period last year.

The report covering the second quarter of the year from April through June showed 5,781 calls for service, an 18 percent increase over the 4,869 calls over the same months in 2017. Total arrests came in at 463 for the period, a 24 percent increase over the previous year’s 372.

The most reported calls for service were for disorderly conduct with 373 calls, domestic violence with 319 and to assist a person with 270.

Traffic stops for the quarter totalled 742, a 20 percent increase over last year’s 615; traffic tickets totalled 463, a 10 percent increase over last year’s 420; and premises, property and school safety checks totalled 1,549, a 29 percent increase over last year’s 1,199.

Two areas with reported decreases over the previous year were parking tickets issued with 60 for the quarter, a 61 percent decrease from the previous year’s 155; and traffic accidents investigated with 92, a five percent decrease from the previous year’s 97.

Fourth Ward Councilman Steven Smith asked Porter for his opinion on the increased police activity over the second quarter, wondering if it was a sign of increased enforcement due to an expanded police force over the previous year’s outfit or sign of increased crime in the city.

“Everything is up year over year,” Smith said. “I’m not sure if I should be really happy or really sad.”

Porter said the station is active with both calls for service and officer initiated activity, pointing to staffing increases as a contributing factor with increased enforcement due to the expanded police presence in the city.

Seven new officers were upgraded to solo patrol status in March after working in the city to complete their field training. The police department will receive more support with three recently hired officers graduating from the police academy this month.

Porter noted that included in the report was a crime index from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services showing crime statistics reported by the department from 2013 through 2017, which showed decreased crime rates in recent years.

The index shows a rise in violent crimes each year from 2013 when 33 were reported through 2016 when 93 were reported, before falling to 64 violent crimes in 2017. Property crimes have consistently fallen, with a gradual decline from 686 in 2013 to 624 in 2015, with more significant declines in 2016 when there were 445 and again in 2017 when there were 362.

“We’re positive about it, our line of work is not something where we have an assembly line where we’re producing a product,” Porter said. “It’s a service that is unique in society and a lot of things we’ve been doing have been measured statistically and it is performance driven, but that’s the one area that we think we can have a positive impact is being out, being visible, being proactive and taking certain enforcement steps when appropriate.”

The Common Council voiced their support for the police performance, with Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis saying he had hoped to see growing activity when the board included increases for staffing in the city budget.

“I think this is very impressive, I think you’ve done a great job chief and these guys are out there doing their job and I think it’s making a difference in neighborhoods, it’s making a difference in the character of the city. I look at it as a real positive, it’s something that I had hoped for once these guys got on,” DeSantis said.