MANHASSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Fed up Nassau County residents and politicians rallied Wednesday against the 2012 merger of two police precincts, citing a substantial increase in crime.

At the same time, the acting Nassau County police commissioner held a news conference to argue that crime is actually down and the merger has cut costs, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported.

“We don’t feel as safe as we used to,” resident Maria Lorenz said.

“Four years ago when these precincts were going to be merged, I said this was a spectacularly bad idea,” said North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “Four years later, it’s still that same bad idea.”

It was meant to cut costs — the merger of the Sixth Precinct in Manhasset and the Third Precinct in Williston Park.

“We were told that it was going to be a money-saving move,” said Sue Auriemma of Manhasset. “And we have yet to see that proven in writing.”

Four years later, law enforcement, residents and political leaders are fed up. At a rally on Wednesday outside the former Sixth Precinct, they said they want the union between the two precincts dissolved.

“Burglaries are on the rise,” Bosworth said. “You have heroin-related crimes that are also on the rise.”

Bosworth said the merger is spreading the already taxed officers too thin. She cited a substantial increase in crime in the area, including a recent rise in burglaries.

“The people of the Sixth Precinct and of the Third Precinct deserve to have a sense of feeling protected; of having a quality of life that is enhanced by being safe in their own homes,” she said.

James Carver, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, said the merger has significantly degraded police resources to the county’s North Shore.

“There’s no detectives here anymore, there’s less pop-cops, there’s no anti-crime plainclothes police officers here anymore,” Carver said. “It’s wrong.”

Carver said it’s time to bring the precinct back, and North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth agrees.

But Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter disagrees.

“This department’s models are beyond reproach,” he said. “Crime has been reduced since the precinct consolidation, and anybody that says there’s been any impact on this is either misinformed or disingenuous.”

At a news conference coincidentally scheduled at the same time as the rally, Krumpter said there has been no reduction in staffing with the mergers, and crime in the county is actually down.

“They are taking a snapshot of about 60 days,” he said. “Last year, major crime was down 5 percent.”

Krumpter added that the year before, major crime was down 10 percent.

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