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Giardino: Bail reform cause of crime increase

Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino discussed the uptick in larcenies in the Broadalbin area with residents at the Broadalbin Town Hall on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

BROADALBIN — Residents in the village and town expressed their concerns as there has been an uptick in larcenies and burglaries within the area, in which Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino held a forum on Tuesday to address those concerns and answer questions.

“In the village and town together there have been about 24 vehicle larcenies, and two burglaries and a bunch of attempts,” Giardino said.

He said the sheriff’s office has seen a lot more larcenies within the last three months with most of them being car thefts in, which he said they find in most cases, the vehicles had been unlocked or accessible from the outside. Giardino said there has also been a couple burglaries and a couple attempted burglaries such as the recent attempted burglaries in the town of Johnstown done by two people who led police on a car chase, with one being only 14 years old.

“The age of people drives a lot of what could happen,” Giardino said. “What limits us a little bit is discovery and bail [rules] have changed.”

As an example, Giardino said they have a pending case in Mayfield where he get calls or texts every day with people asking why an arrest hasn’t been made in motorcycle accident. He said they haven’t made an arrest yet because of the new discovery rules.

“With the new rules we have to turn stuff over within 20 days,” he said.

Giardino said burglaries are usually done in clusters with two to three people involved.

He said Montgomery County sees more petit larcenies because they have more stores such as Walmart and Target, and Fulton County has more burglaries because it has more lakes and summer homes.

“We find that in the spring people come back to their camps and find someone went in their garage, went [on] their porch and went in their house,” Giardino said.

In the cities, however, there are more drugs or burglaries, than in the towns.

The difference between a larceny and a burglary is that a larceny is stealing someone’s property, and a burglary is entering someone’s home, Giardino said.

“A lot of the time, the car larcenies are just change, cigarettes, loose [items], not anything of substantial value,” he said.

Some suggestions Giardino told residents include: Locking their vehicle doors, leaving their vehicles in the garage with the garage locked and putting up cameras.

Although cameras can be expensive and not everyone can afford a camera, Giardino said they can be easy to use and can alert residents of any movement inside or outside their homes or garages.

“We get a tremendous amount of information from the public and I thank the public because of the camera,” Giardino said.

He also told residents to always report any incidents even if the person doesn’t take anything, Giardino said he rather they report any suspicious activity.

“We rather have a complaint because than at least we can track it,” Giardino said.

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