Major crimes down in Albany; Police focus on vehicle thefts

Major crimes are down in Albany this year compared with last year, particularly motor vehicle thefts.

The number of shooting incidents through November is 51 compared with 75 during this same period last year, according to police. The number of shooting victims has dropped from 92 last year to 62 this year. Burglaries have declined from 524 last year to 436 this year.

“In all major categories, we’ve made significant progress in addressing those issues,” Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins said at a news conference Wednesday to discuss public safety.

“These are the type of crimes that make people feel less safe,” Hawkins went on to say. 

The number of murders is about the same at 18 this year compared with 19 last year. Rape arrests decreased from 70 to 63. Robberies are about the same with 233 last year and 228 this year. Aggravated assault arrests declined from 596 in 2022 to 568 in 2023.

City officials have focused on motor vehicle crimes, because they said a lot of stolen vehicles end up being used in other crimes, according to Hawkins.

The police began an enforcement campaign and started issuing citations.

“We’re confident that that has had some impact on some of the violence we’ve had in our city,” he said.

During the wintertime, it is tempting to just leave your car running to dash into the convenience store, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.

Albany Police have a good track record in closing cases, she said, which is not the case in cities small and large across the country.

“When you’re able to make arrests you’re able to prevent that next crime from happening,” said Sheehan, adding the public needs to report crimes.