The Bedford Police Department's final numbers for 2012 show some increases in local crime.
Officials say several factors—a slightly smaller squad, increased enforcement efforts on drunken driving, the economic climate and more—affect the data.
"We did have a very busy 2012," Chief William Hayes said. "In spite of our reduced personnel, we’ve had great success in solving most of the most serious crimes that have occurred. This is directly attributable to the hard work of the men and women of the Bedford Police Department and our partner agencies."
Officers responded to a slightly decreased number of calls for service in 2012. Cops answered 22,092, compared to 23,895 in 2011. Major criminal activity included 140 larcenies, up from 72 in 2011; and 25 burglaries, up from seven. Robberies, which included the home invasion at a Broad Brook Road residence, jumped from one to three.
"The burglaries and larcenies could possibly have to do with the economy," Lt. Jeffrey Dickan said, adding that the value of stolen property for 2012 was nearly $1 million. The figure was half that in 2011.
Dickan also said three robberies is a "very high" annual number for the department because, historically, Bedford has seen few of those incidents. He feels Bedford is a safe place to live, but that in general, folks should be aware of their surroundings, and what's happening—whether it be on a national or local level.
"If crime goes up, it should pique awareness," he said. "They should continue to do things that keep them from being victimized: locking doors, securing personal items whether it's in their vehicle, on their person, securing their home, doing things like burglar alarms, better locks, exterior lighting."
Officials provided those tips, and a few others, during a security discussion hosted by the Katonah Chamber of Commerce last month. Several business owners attended the meeting, which followed an incident at Kelloggs & Lawrence.
"We do that on occasion with residents, too," Dickan said. "We just like to educate the people more. We would rather prevent crimes than investigate crimes. We're very good at investigating crimes, but we'd rather not."
It's likely that the communication between the department and residents will go beyond educational talks this year. One of the goals, officials say, is to increase Bedford Police's presence on social media, namely on Facebook and Twitter.
"We want community involvement always," Dickan said, adding that continued use of the community notification service Nixle is a priority, too.
Other goals for 2013 include creating a department website and improving traffic safety. That means heightened efforts to reduce distracted driving and increasing the number of summonses.
"In spite of our crime numbers, our crime rate is very low considering how large our town is," Hayes said. "Bedford is a great place to live and do business, and we will continue to serve this community by contributing to low crime rates and protecting public safety."
Crime StatsCrimes 2010 2011 2012 Robbery 0 1 3
Assault 2 4 4
Burglary 18 7 25
Larceny 34 72 140
Dangerous drugs 7 5 10
*Criminal mischief 49 92 73
Sex offenses 2 5 7
Forgery 6 7 5
Posession of stolen property 3 4 2
Fraud 1 4 8
Marijuana 20 19 27
Arrests and other police activity
Vehicular and traffic arrests
Child safety seat inspections
* After factoring changes in reporting methods, these numbers are similar from year-to-year according to police.