Sheriff: Economy is down, but so is prison population

Operation IMPACT works in several ways: It works to provide funding, resources and technical assistance to participating agencies. It also works on enhancing the partnerships among participating agencies.

According to the Operation IMPACT 2007 Crimestat Update, certain kinds of crime, including firearm related crimes, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, were generally down all across New York state.

However, according to John Caher, director of public information for the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, there has been a slight increase in crime across the state, and a 5 percent increase in Schenectady County through October of this year.

Caher said there are a number of reasons as to why this is possible and that the numbers are skewed to some extent.

"Schenectady had a tremendously good year in 2007, so the numbers look a lot worse than they really are," he said.

Between 2006 and 2007, overall crime in Schenectady dropped nearly 15 percent. Rapes were down 35 percent.

"Basically, that's a hard record to match, so the numbers have to be taken with some analysis," said Caher.

"To say that crime is out of control in Schenectady is completely unfair," said Caher.

"A nearly 15 percent decrease [in crime] last year in the City of Schenectady " that's just a hard number to match," he said.

He also noted that in counties with smaller populations, such as Schenectady, where there might be a grand total of five murders, the percentage of murders can easily be skewed.

When asked if he thought this slight rise was due to the economy, Caher said he was unsure.

"It's hard to say. I think it's interesting that we're seeing mainly a spike in property crimes, [but] I can't prove that it's related to the economy. I know a lot of people are theorizing to that effect," said Caher.""

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