COLONIE — The number of index crimes— violent and property offences— committed in town remained exactly the same from 2015 to 2016, according to statistics released last week by the state Department of Criminal Justice Services.
There were 2,057 index crimes reported in both years. Violent crimes jumped from 74 to 91 and property crimes decreased from 1,983 to 1,966.
Violent crimes, which include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, more than doubled since 2012 when there were 46 reported. In 2013 there were 63 and there were 68 in 2014.
The increase in violent crimes is largely due to a spike in aggravated assaults, which jumped from 17 in 2012 to 61 in 2016. From 2015 to 2016, the number of such assaults spiked from 42 to 61.
In this state, an assault becomes an aggravated assault when there is a weapon involved, when the assault is inflicted upon a police officer or peace officer, the extent of physical injury is serious enough to warrant the added “aggravated” charge or if the victim is a child.
Police Department spokesman Lt. Robert Winn said the spike in aggravated assaults does not mean there was an increase in people who were injured.
He said from 2015 the number of incidents of aggravated assault where someone was injured actually dropped to 31 from 29. The number of reports where someone simply displayed a weapon, though, increased from 11 in 2015 to 32 in 2016. The weapon could be anything from a box cutter or razor blade to a vehicle and the attempted underlying crime could be anything from shoplifting to a domestic to an emotionally disturbed person with a weapon.
“We were curious as to the increase as well so we took a deeper look into the numbers and while we are concerned with any increase the rise in violent crime doesn’t equal a victim sustaining an injury,” he said.
He acknowledged the increase in violent crime from 2015 to 2016 but said when you spread 17 additional incidents over a 52 week year the increase is not that big a number.
Overall, in Albany County, index crimes increased to 8,764 in 2016 from 8,635 in 2015 but decreased from 9,975 in 2012.
The number of violent crimes increased to 1,102 in 2016 from 1,041 in 2015 and from 1,012 in 2012.
Property crimes in Albany County increased to 7,662 from 7,594. In 2012, there were 8,963 reported property crimes, which include burglary, larceny and motor vehicle thefts.