Are you visiting or planning on moving to Long Island, NY? You may be concerned about crime in Long Island and whether it’s a safe place.
Long Island isn’t just safe, it’s the safest place to live in the NYC area. Long Island’s Nassau County was even ranked the safest county in the United States in 2020 by U.S. News! That considers not just crime rates but also fatal accidents, community spending on emergency and health services, and distance to emergency services.
Here’s a complete guide to the Long Island, NY crime rate and what you should know about the area.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Long Island Crime Rate
To understand the rate of crime on Long Island, a good place to start is with the Long Island crime rate. U.S. crime rates are based on FBI Uniform Crime Statistics (2019) and reflected as the number of index crimes per capita (100,000 residents). Index crimes are four property and four violent crimes considered serious and well-tracked enough to be used to reflect your risk of being the victim of crime.
What is the Long Island crime rate?
That’s a bit complicated. Long Island isn’t a city, nor is it a single county. This means there isn’t a single reported crime rate for Long Island, NY.
There are several ways to determine the Long Island crime rate, however.
Long Island is an island comprised of four counties:
Kings County (Brooklyn)
Queens County (Queens)
Brooklyn and Queens are part of Long Island, but they are two of the five boroughs of New York City. When New Yorkers refer to Long Island, they are generally referring to only Suffolk and Nassau counties, not the boroughs. Nassau and Suffolk counties together don’t have a separate legal identity, but New York recognizes them together as a region. If you’re curious, here’s why Queens and Brooklyn aren’t part of Long Island and how Nassau County was left out when present-day NYC was formed.
With that in mind, we can better assess crime on Long Island.
The Nassau County crime rate is:
988 total crimes per 100,000 people
121 violent crimes per 100,000 people
867 property crimes per 100,000 people
The Suffolk County crime rate is:
1,234 total crimes per 100,000 people
96 violent crimes per 100,000 people
1,138 property crimes per 100,000 people
That gives you an average Long Island crime rate of 1,111 total crimes, 109 violent crimes, and 1,002 property crimes per capita.
By comparison, the national crime rate is 2,580 total crimes per 100,000 people with 2,362 property crimes and 382 violent crimes per capita.
That makes Long Island a very safe place to live.
Crime on Long Island vs New York City
How does Long Island crime compare to NYC? The New York City crime rate is 2,030 total crimes, 571 violent crimes, and 1,460 property crimes per capita. That’s still far lower than the national average, but it doesn’t compare to Long Island.
Long Island has 59% less crime than New York City.
Brooklyn, which is on Long Island, has a crime rate of 1,853 crimes per capita
Also on Long Island, Queens has a crime rate of 1,429 crimes per capita
The Bronx has the highest crime rate of the five boroughs: 2,468 total crimes per capita and a violent crime rate of 921 per capita. That’s also the highest violent crime rate in New York by far.
Long Island Crime Map
You won’t find a map of crime on Long Island; you’ll need to look at each county and city separately. Here’s where you can see crime maps to explore crime in towns and villages on Long Island.
There were 11,741 property crimes in Nassau County in 2019 including:
10,233 thefts and larceny
639 car thefts
The Nassau County, NY property crime rate is 867 property crimes per capita.
Suffolk County had 16,750 property crimes:
14,854 thefts and larceny
835 car thefts
The Suffolk County, NY property crime rate is 1,138 property crimes per capita.
Overall, the Long Island property crime rate is 1,002 property crimes per capita.
While overall crime in Long Island dropped in 2020, car thefts climbed to 1,160 in Suffolk. There was also a dramatic rise in commercial burglaries due to the COVID-19 pandemic with shuttered businesses becoming a target.
Violent Crime in Long Island, NY
In 2019, Nassau County had 1,644 index property crimes including:
1,081 aggravated assaults
Suffolk County had 1,414 violent crimes including:
852 aggravated assaults
Together, that gives you a Long Island violent crime rate of 109 violent crimes per capita.
During the first half of 2020, violent crime fell dramatically from 2019. In Suffolk County, homicide and manslaughter was down 31%. In Nassau, there were five murders during the first half of the year, down from 7 the year before. Rape declined 53% in Suffolk County. This drop in sex crimes alone helped Suffolk see a 6% drop in total violent crime in 2020.
However, by the end of 2020, homicides were up, despite a drop in total crime. There were 44 homicides in Long Island in 2020.
High Crime Areas of Long Island
Crime in Long Island is far below the national average. However, some villages and towns have higher crime rates than others.
There are three communities in Long Beach that stand out for crime:
The Village of Hempstead (pop. 55,000) in the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County has 5.74 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.
The town of Riverhead (pop. 33,500) in Suffolk County has a total crime rate of 66.8 per 1,000 residents. Most violent crime occurs in west neighborhoods where your chance of being the victim is as high as 1 in 4.
The village of Freeport (pop. 43,000) in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County has 1.61 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.
The Village of Hempstead has the highest poverty rate and the highest rate of crime in Long Island. The village was one of 16 communities in New York chosen for the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI). In one recent year, Hempstead had a poverty rate of almost 21% with over 400 violent crimes including six murders and 8 forcible rapes.
Safest Places to Live in Long Island
Long Island is one of the safest places to live in metro New York – and one of the safest in the state! Several villages in Long Island have been ranked among New York’s safest cities. Here are some of the safest towns in Long Island.
The hamlet of Port Washington is located in Nassau County within the Town of North Hempstead. Home to 19,000 people, it has fewer than ten violent crimes per year with a violent crime rate of 0.31 per 1,000 people.
The Town of Southold is located in Suffolk County and it’s home to over 20,000 people. It’s located on the North Folk and includes the Village of Greenport plus nine hamlets (including the historic hamlet of Southold) and more than a dozen other communities like the private community of Beixedon Estates.
The violent crime rate in the Town of Southold is just 0.85 per 1,000 people.
Long Beach is one of just two cities in Nassau County with famous attractions like the Long Beach Boardwalk and Ocean Beach Park. Home to over 33,000 people, there are only 0.86 violent crimes per 1,000 people. In one recent year, there were only 29 violent crimes and 80 property crimes reported.
Garden City is one of the largest villages in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County. Home to 23,000 people, Garden City is home to two country clubs, Adelphi University, and the highly rated Waldorf School of Garden City.
Garden City has only 0.44 violent crimes per 1,000 people.
The incorporated village of Floral Park is home to over 16,000 people in Nassau County. Floral Park is mostly located in the Town of Hempstead with a small part in the Town of North Hempstead. It’s also adjacent to Queens. Floral Park is one of the safest villages on Long Island with just 0.50 violent crimes per 1,000 people.
Rockville Centre or RVC is a large village in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County. Home to 24,000 people, it’s home to Mercy Hospital and next to the New York Equestrian Center and Hempstead Lake State Park, one of Nassau County’s top attractions.
Located on Long Island’s North Shore in Nassau County, Glen Cove is one of the only cities in the county with a population of 27,000. This beautiful waterfront community is home to beautiful beaches and Welwyn Preserve, a preserve with a 1913 mansion-turned Holocaust museum. In 2019, there were only 89 crimes reported in the entire city: five violent crimes and 84 property crimes.
Long Island Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime on Long Island
Hofstra University is a hotspot for crime on Long Island with 11.5 reported crimes per 1,000 students. 9% of incidents are arrests for major crime and 13% are violence against women. Use the campus escort service and night shuttle to get around on campus.
Be aware of your surroundings when in tourist areas. These areas can be hotspots for pickpockets and theft from cars.
Long Island Police Departments
There are several police departments with jurisdiction on Long Island. The New York City Police Department has jurisdiction in Brooklyn and Queens. In Suffolk and Nassau counties, there are several law enforcement agencies:
Nassau County Police Department
Suffolk County Police Department which serves the towns of Brookhaven, Smithtown, Huntington, Islip, and Babylon
Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office has a patrol division
New York State Police patrol most parkways and state parks
New York State University Police patrol SUNY campuses on Long Island
In Nassau County, the dozens of villages within the three towns and the two cities have separate police departments. This includes the city of Long Beach and the city of Glen Cove. Villages in the Town of Oyster Bay, the Town of North Hempstead, and the Town of Hempstead.
In Suffolk County, the East End towns of Southampton, Shelter Island, Southold, Riverhead, and East Hampton have their own police departments. Southold also provides law enforcement for the Village of Greenport. Some villages like Amityville and Westhampton Beach also have their own police.
Long Island is a safe place to live. The Long Island crime rate is 80% lower than the national average and 59% lower than NYC. It’s one of the safest places to live in New York!
What is the crime rate on Long Island, NY?
The Long Island crime rate is 1,111 total crimes, 1,002 property crimes, and 109 violent crimes per capita. This is the average for Suffolk and Nassau counties, but Nassau has 22% less crime.
What parts of Long Island have the highest crime rate?
The areas with the most crime on Long Island include the Village of Hempstead (not the town!), the town of Riverhead, and the village of Freeport. Riverhead has a crime rate 143% higher than the Long Island average. Hempstead village has 136% more violent crime than Long Island overall.
Rob Marchese is one of the founders of Zippboxx Moving and Storage. Since the start of the company it's been Rob's mission to change the way the moving industry is perceived. The number one goal is to make the moving and storage process as stress free as possible for each and every customer. "The way we do this is by honesty, transparency, and providing a high quality of service."