BETHLEHEM — The Bethlehem Police Department received around 23,300 phone calls in 2017, an increase of roughly 1,200 from 2016’s 22,100, according to its 2017 annual report released in early February 2019.
The report offered statistical data and insight into what the BPD accomplished and how many incidents it worked in 2017.
When analyzing phone calls made each day of the week, Sunday saw the fewest at 2,420 while the rest of the week each crossed over the 3,000 threshold and averaged at 3,325 calls.
On each day of the week, the vast majority of phone calls, around 3,000, were made in daytime, but calls made on each weeknight remained just below 400. Furthermore, 48 percent of the total estimated 23,300 phone calls, or 11,184 calls, were made in the day; 40 percent or 9,320 calls were in the afternoon; and the remaining 12 percent or 2,796 calls were at night.
“Phone calls made to us are not just about crime, that’s something most people don’t recognize,” said Bethlehem Police Chief Louis Corsi. “This is a full-service police department and day shifts are primarily for service-oriented calls mostly. Afternoons are complaints and nights are crimes in progress. So, you get a lot of work in the day shifts, supporting ambulance calls, various calls for service and traffic accidents.”
He added that people usually make complaint calls in the evening time since that’s when people come home from work to find out something happened in the house, for instance.
BPD investigated 2,184 offenses in town in 2017, 183 more than 2016’s 2,001 figure. Such offenses included kidnapping, robbery, arson, bribery, driving under the influence, drug/narcotic violations, and impersonation.
Among the highest-committed offenses were 188 simple assaults, 177 shoplifting cases and 148 incidents of damaged or vandalized property.
BPD conducted 8,166 motor vehicle stops in 2017, an increase of 2,277 from 2016’s 5,889 figure. 3,606 traffic arrests were made in 2017, which was 1,245 more than 2016’s 2,361 amount.
Cell phone usage while driving also spiked up to 256, 172 more than in 2016, whereas DWI arrests rose slightly to 56 in 2017, just six more than 50 in 2016.
Also, 2016 and 2017 each saw BPD handling just one fatal vehicular accident.
BPD’s Animal Control received 1,350 calls in 2017, a slight increase from 1,389 in 2016, which handled incidents including animal cruelty, lost animals and animal bites. In 2017, BPD had just one full-time Animal Control officer but has since hired an additional part-time officer to help. “You wouldn’t believe how many calls for service that Animal Control takes, and it’s a service that’s in high demand in town,” Corsi said.
Corsi also said that while all the numbers may appear high, “They’re not that high and I think that Bethlehem is a safe place to live in overall. But we’re not immune to crime but we’re fortunate we have a very well-seasoned staff. They do an excellent job and we’re maintaining as great as we can.”
BPD had also continued teaching educational programs to elementary, middle and high school students in the Bethlehem Central School District, those in A.W. Becker Elementary School in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District, and at St. Thomas the Apostle Parochial School.
It had a Family Services Unit, consisting of three Detectives, two School Resource Officers and a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Officer, who were all assigned to specific schools.
This collective effort aimed to continue strengthening relations with the school communities, investigating family issues at risk, and showcasing numerous child-safety presentations. Examples of in-school programs concerned topics that included internet safety, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and Halloween safety.
BPD also held similar community presentations for Bethlehem residents which focused on subjects like crimes against the elderly, school safety geared towards parents, and fingerprinting.
Believing that maintaining communication with students and residents in town is invaluable, Corsi said, “There have been a lot of negative connotations nationwide now that come with police officers but we’re just regular people and we like to interact with the people here. Openness, honesty and compassion are extremely important in this line of work. We strive to attain that with every opportunity.”
When asked if he had one message to the public about the Bethlehem Police Department, Corsi said, “It’s an honor to serve the community and we strive to do the very best as we can, within our budget constraints. The officers do a really good job and these are the finest group of individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with and they’re very talented. We’re here for you and if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call us.”
The Bethlehem Police Department is located on 447 Delaware Ave. in Delmar, and be reached via phone at 518-439-9973 or 911 specifically for emergencies.