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Village court cases up 58 percent for 2012

WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen village court experienced a 57.7 percent increase in penal cases, comparing last year to 2011.
Justice Nicholas Dugo submitted his annual report to the Watkins Glen village board for the Monday, Feb. 4 meeting. The document said the court handled 194 penal law cases in 2012, up from the 123 in 2011. This does not count traffic tickets, civil cases and village ordinance violations.
Watkins Glen Police Chief Struble said the increase was in thefts, crimes against people, and crimes against property. He explained his department handled more than 40 larcenies/thefts in 2012, up from nearly 20 in 2011. Struble attributed the increase in crime to the poor economy.
Because of the police handling more penal cases, Struble said this has impacted the department’s ability to respond to vehicle and transportation issues. According to the village court, vehicle tickets were down 22.8 percent. There were 1,165 tickets in 2012 and 1,510 in 2011.
Struble explained penal law incidents require more time. He said it takes 45 minutes to an hour for each penal issue. This includes the arrest, fingerprinting, and release of individual. Struble said the average traffic citation lasts 15 minutes. He explained the time required to handle penal law arrests quickly adds up in a regular eight hour shift. Struble added other factors also impact the numbers, including the actual number of people breaking traffic law and the number of tickets being written.
“Our goal is to be proactive, not reactive,” said Struble. However, he explained responses to penal law violations are predominantly “reactive” as officers are responding to complaints. He added the police department is still able to do its job.
In his report, Dugo said Watkins Glen is the busiest court in the county. Distract Attorney Joseph Fazzary appears in village court every week. Dugo also stated he is still opposed to any attempt to consolidate the Watkins Glen Police Department with another agency.




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