Reported crimes in the Twin Counties spiked in 2017 — reaching its highest point in the four previous years and Greene County having a higher rate of violent crime than 46 percent of 50 upstate counties.
Index crimes, which include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary larceny and motor vehicle theft, spiked in Columbia and Greene counties in 2017 compared to the previous four years, according to the most recent available data from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
The Twin Counties saw a rash of violent crimes in 2017, with several high-profile shootings in Columbia County connected to gang conflicts over illegal drugs.
In 2017, Columbia County had a higher rate per 100,000 people of index crimes than 54 percent of 50 upstate counties, according to the Division of Criminal Justice Services. The county had 970 reported index crimes in 2017, or a rate of 1,595.5 reported crimes per 100,000 people.
In 2016, Columbia County reported 834 index crimes, which is a rate of 1,371.6 reported crimes per 100,000 people.
The county saw a downward trend of index crimes in the last four years — peaking in 2013 with 1,127.GREENE COUNTY
The statewide rate of index crimes per 100,000 people decreased from 1,914.1 in 2016 to 1,821.7 in 2017.
“During that time [2013 to 2017], a lot of people couldn’t find work so there were more burglaries and other crimes,” Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley said Monday. “Since 2017, there have been a lot more jobs available... the economy is doing well. We did not get the same kind of spike this past year, I can say that.”
In 2017, Greene County reported a higher rate of index crimes than 34 percent of the state’s 50 upstate counties, but for violent crimes, which include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, Greene County reported a higher rate of crimes than 46 percent of other counties.
In 2016, Greene County reported 104 violent crimes. That number rose to 137 in 2017, or rates of 221.2 per 100,000 people and 289.3 per 100,000 people respectively. In 2013, the county reported 58 violent crimes — a 136-percent increase in four years.
Greene County saw a 36-percent increase in aggravated assault in 2017 from 69 in 2016 to 94 such crimes the following year.
One murder was reported in Greene County in 2017 — the first time since 2014 when the county reported two murders, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Columbia County saw a similar trend over the past four years, reporting 76 violent crimes in 2013 to 135 violent crimes in 2017 and only seeing a significant dip in 2014 when the county recorded 47 violent crimes.
The nation’s heroin and opioid epidemic — a problem that has significantly impacted the Twin Counties, is also a driving force behind recent crime trends Seeley said.
“Once people get involved in drugs, they have to get the money to keep using,” Seeley said. “That leads to them burglarizing homes and other crimes.”COLUMBIA COUNTY
Hudson had a violent summer in 2017 starting with one shooting in April that continued with multiple shootings through September.
Seven shootings took place in Hudson in 2017 that resulted in the death of one man and injured eight people, including two children. Several people involved with the violence were charged and face trials in the coming months.
Columbia County reported a higher rate of violent crimes than 18 percent of the 50 upstate counties, with rates of 222.1 crimes per 100,000 people in 2017 and 164.5 crimes per 100,000 people in 2016.
The statewide rate of violent crimes per 100,000 people also decreased from 375.4 in 2016 to 355.6 in 2017.
“I would say that the numbers we saw that year definitely correlate with the shootings we had that summer,” Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said. “These statistics are based on our arrests. If we had not made those arrests, the numbers would have been lower.”
Hudson police reported a spike in city index crimes in 2017 at 255 crimes. The city had 52 reported violent crimes that year.
Of violent crimes, the city saw a large increase in aggravated assault from 14 in 2016 to 35 in 2017, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Hudson reported the most violent crimes in 2017 of any other local police agency, with local state police reporting 53 violent crimes that year. Hudson also reported one murder in 2017 the first time in two years.
The crimes that increased in the city in 2017, such as aggravated assault, are related to the shootings that occurred that summer, Moore said.
“Some charges beget other charges for people involved,” Moore said. “The long-term trends are going down, though.”
Violent crimes committed with a firearm in Columbia County increased from 12 in 2016 to 19 in 2017. The number of violent crimes committed with a firearm remained at five between 2016 and 2017, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Hudson police received 8,000 calls to service in 2018, Moore said, and 7,200 calls in 2017.
“You see crime going down,” he added. “We had a much better year in 2018 and we are going to have an even better year in 2019.”