Chief delivers 4th quarter statistical report

Decreased activity compared to 2018

GLOVERSVILLE — Police Chief Marc Porter on Tuesday delivered the department’s statistical report for the fourth quarter of 2019 to the Common Council that showed decreased activity in most areas from the same period of 2018.

The statistical report covering the fourth quarter of 2019 from October through December showed 4,103 calls for service, a 33 percent decrease from the 6,200 calls during the same months in 2018. Total arrests came in at 272 for the period, a 40 percent decrease from the previous year’s 455 over the fourth quarter.

The most reported calls for service during the fourth quarter of 2019 were for domestic incidents with 273, disorderly conduct with 235 and to assist a person with 216.

Additional areas that saw declines in police activity during the final quarter of last year were traffic stops with a total of 316, a 69 percent decline from the 1,047 stops conducted during the same period of 2018; traffic tickets issued with a total of 182, down 63 percent from 484 in 2018; parking tickets issued with 182, down 74 percent from 712; and premises, property and school safety checks with 1,028, down 51 percent from 2,135.

The only area that saw increased activity during the fourth quarter of 2019 was the number of traffic accidents investigated with 126, up 13 percent from the 111 accidents investigated during the same period of 2018.

Declines in police activity in most reported categories during the second, third and fourth quarters of 2019 reverse a trend from 2018 when police activity largely grew each quarter over the same periods of 2017.

In an email releasing the quarterly report to the Common Council and media ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Porter explained that the Gloversville Police Department faced some staffing challenges over the course of 2019 that may have contributed to the reductions in activity.

According to Porter, approximately 37 percent of the members of the department were on a special or modified assignment or duty status for much of 2019 due to military service, transfers, K-9 training, school resource officer assignment, on or off duty injuries, discovery compliance training and medical or other leaves.

“That contributed to a reduction in the average workload per officer, including their self-initiated activity,” Porter stated.

Porter also pointed to the possible lasting effect of overall staffing increases through the creation of additional police officer positions in 2018 and crime prevention initiatives that saw area law enforcement agencies participate in unannounced operations in the city over the course of multiple days in 2018 and 2019. The chief previously pointed to each of these measures as possibly explaining increases to police activity in 2018 due in part to the influx of police personnel.

Despite the declines in police activity in 2019, Porter highlighted that there has been a “significant” decrease in crime rates in the city since 2014 according to official and unofficial Uniform Crime Report data calculated by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

According to Porter, Total Index Crime pertaining to violent or property crimes in the city is down by 37 percent from 2014 to 2018. Unofficial data shows a slight increase in this index by 3 percent from 2018 to 2019.

A breakdown of the data shows that violent crime in the city from 2014 to 2018 increased by 107 percent, rising from 40 cases to 83. Property crime from 2014 to 2018 decreased 46 percent, dropping from 679 cases to 363. Porter reported that unofficial data shows a 25 percent decrease in violent crime and a 10 percent increase in property crimes from 2018 to 2019.

Additionally, unofficial domestic violence victim data shows a 36 percent reduction in cases from 2015 to 2019.

“After discussing these trends with our staff, we believe that our officers are effective at deterring and reducing crime. We believe this is most notable with the reduction in property crimes, where we especially credit our police officers with being highly visible and effective within their patrol zones where they are often directing their limited resources to problem areas,” Porter said.

Porter also pondered whether bail and discovery reforms that took effect this month will impact departmental activity over the next year.

“We intend to implement a new records management software system in 2020 and hope to better quantify and track how these reforms have changed our operational service to the community. The year 2020 may create a new data set with criminal justice reforms,” Porter said.