OCEAN CITY – A considerable decrease in crime related activity during Delmarva Bike Week was reported this week in Ocean City, with the lone exception being a 100 percent increase in driving under the influence arrests.
Ocean City Police Department Crime Analyst Brandon Reim presented statistics associated with the annual September event He started off by comparing the number of calls for police service this year compared to last.
“This year we had significantly fewer calls for service and requests for police service then the previous year,” Reim said. “That may be due in part to the rain that we received and cooler temperatures that we had.”
The numbers of calls were recorded from Thursday, Sept. 15, to Sunday, Sept. 18. Business calls were down from 178 last year to 67, and officers’ self-initiated calls fell from 829 to 453, both being the lowest number of calls in the last five years. The only difference was the number of citizen calls increased from 321 last year to 358.
Police Chief Bernadette DiPino explained that could be due to the number of emails and calls she received prior to Bike Week this year in which citizens were asking for police to be posted outside of their residences and businesses because of the amount of noise created from the motorcycles.
“I asked the citizens to please call the police, if you see something suspicious or if you have a problem call us,” she said. “We are hoping that the citizens know that we want them to call us whenever they have a problem. I am hoping that is one of the indications why the numbers increased.”
Next Reim presented the highest demands for police calls of service collected throughout the last five years, which were domestic assault or dispute, collision, suspicious person or activities, assist citizen and disorderly conduct.
“This year we have an all-time low,” he said. “Last year appears to be the highest request for police services in these five most common calls for service received.”
According to Reim, over the last five years, 2009 had the most activity regarding overall arrests made during Bike Week. The highest demands for arrest during this time period were due to DUI’s, drug violations, assault and disorderly conduct.
Reim pointed out that in 2009 drug violations was the highest cause of arrest. Out of 61 arrests made in 2009, 31 were due to drug violations. This year DUI arrests increased 100 percent. Last year, there were five DUI arrests made, this year there was 10.
There has been a downward trend in traffic citations made during Bike Week since 2007, despite a small increase last year.
“Looking at the traffic citations, again we had an all-time low looking at the past five years,” Reim said.
Motorcycle citations play a very minor role in overall traffic citations. This year there was 109 citations and only six were caused by motorcycles.
Officer field interviews are when an officer views suspicious activity and take it upon themselves to pull a person aside and ask for information. This year officers conducted the lowest number of field interviews in the last five years. There were 14 interviews conducted in comparison to last year with 37.
“The rain did perhaps keep a lot of people indoors this year,” Reim pointed out. “That may be why we are seeing an all-time low from the previous years.”
Despite the rainy weather, demoflush estimates showed there were around 210,000 people in town over Bike Week this year, which is the highest number in the last 10 years. The second highest count was in 2006 with close to 206,000 people.
“This past year indicates that we had the highest amount of people in Ocean City for Bike Week,” Reim said. “It may have something to do with the rain water falling into the sewage system, and it may have boosted the numbers a little bit.”
Reim explained the Bike Week analysis will be used for future events so the police department can predict what to expect regarding enforcement actions, different crimes occurring, and how many people we are going to be in Ocean City.
“It does give us trends and an opportunity to look at what we do, how we do it, and plan for the future,” DiPino added. “One of the things you can look at when you see numbers drop is because this year you probably noticed an increase in allied agencies that were town.”
DiPino said that the Maryland State Police, Anne Arundel Police Department, Harford County Sheriff’s Office, the Baltimore City Police, and the Maryland Department of Transportation were in Ocean City over Bike Week to assist with the presence of the motorcycles.
DiPino added the department’s efforts in crime prevention and educating citizens in attempting to reduce crime and police contact may have also helped in the decreasing statistics.
“I think people are now used to seeing a Bike Week event,” she said. “They know what the event’s about and that helps us to police do things better and also to gauge where we are to deploy our police officers.”