OC Police Calls Up Slightly In July; Crime Data Flat From 2013

OCEAN CITY – Due to the monthly Police Commission meeting being canceled, Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro came before the Mayor and City Council on Monday to present the month of July’s crime statistics and Taser report.

Buzzuro reported July’s total calls for service, including traffic stops, business checks and assistance to citizens, totaled 15,405, which is a 1.8-percent increase from July 2013 when there were 15,128 calls for service.
Out of that total, 11,337 were officer initiated, which is a .7-percent increase from July 2013, and 4,068 were citizen initiated, which is a 5.1-percent increase from July 2013.

The total number of calls for service, excluding traffic stops, business checks and assisting citizens, totaled 9,441, which is a 7-percent decrease from July 2013 when there were 10,157 calls for service. Out of the total, 5,542 were officer initiated, which is a 14-percent decrease from July 2013, and 3,899 were citizen initiated, which is a 5-percent decrease from July 2013.
Out of the top 25 calls for service, most of the categories decreased in the month of July starting with city ordinance violations declining from 1,396 in July 2013 to 1,338 this year; disorderly decreased from 836 to 769; assist to citizens decreased from 950 to 729; alcohol violations decreased from 295 to 285; parking complaints/violations decreased from 517 to 245; assist to motorists decreased from 237 to 208; tow impound by police decreased from 168 to 161; noise complaints or violations decreased from 216 to 134; civil dispute decreased from 144 to 125; domestic assault/dispute decreased from 138 to 119; trespassing decreased from 98 to 95; malicious destruction of property decreased from 108 to 85; and report of a fight decreased from 34 to 27.

The categories showing an increase were 911 hang up calls, from 582 in July 2013 to 724 this year; suspicious person or activity increased from 300 to 389; assist to OC EMS increased from 318 to 367; CDS violations increased from 166 to 190; forgery of any kind increased from 83 to 106; assault already occurred increased from 85 to 102; assist to fire company increased from 94 to 99; warrant attempt or arrest increased from 53 to 57; and breaking and entering increased from 18 to 25.

Three categories that remained the same were collisions coming in with 333 in both July 2013 and this year; there were 243 calls for theft already occurred in both years; and 46 calls for DWI investigate and/or arrest in both years.

There were 490 arrests made in July and 233 criminal citations issued. There were 109 drug arrests made and 157 drug citations. There were 51 DUI arrests made and 30 weapon arrests, according to OCPD data.
Seven months into the year, a weekly breakdown reflects a .8-percent decrease in total crime this year compared to last year.
Under Part 1 Crimes there have been no homicides compared to one this time last year; no shootings compared to one this time last year; 18 forcible rapes in 2013 compared to 22 this year; 15 robberies in 2013 compared to 16 this year; 32 aggravated assaults in 2013 compared to 40 this year; 147 burglaries in 2013 compared to 215 this year; 663 larcenies in 2013 compared to 614 this year; 19 auto thefts in 2013 compared to 23 this year; and there were no cases of arson in both 2013 and so far this year.

There have been 468 common assaults so far this year compared to 518 this time last year and 37 minor sex offenses so far this year compared to 34 last year, resulting in an overall total of 1,435 crimes at the end of July this year compared to 1,447 at the end of July in 2013.

For comparison, the weekly average population estimates in Ocean City in July produced by Demoflush was 272,082 this year compared to the four-year average of 293,863, which is a 7-percent decrease.

There were 14 incidents in July where a Controlled Electronic Weapon (CEW), also known as a Taser, was involved. Two out of those 14 incidents resulted in deployment.

On Wednesday, July 16, officers were addressing an intoxicated disorderly suspect, who was screaming at the officers. An officer unholstered his CEW and displayed it and produced a warning arc when the display had no effect on the suspect’s level of compliance. When officers brought the suspect to the ground after the warning arc, an officer utilized his CEW to deliver a drive stun into the suspect’s back, which gained immediate compliance. There were no injuries to anyone involved.

On Monday, July 21, officers were attempting to place an intoxicated and violent suspect into the transport vehicle after placing him in handcuffs. When officers placed the suspect in the transport vehicle, the suspect charged the officers and began thrashing around, kicking several officers in the chest and in the face. An officer unholstered his CEW and produced a warning arc as he approached the suspect and demanded the suspect stop resisting, but the suspect did not listen. The officer delivered a drive stun to the suspect’s leg, which had minimal impact, so the officer delivered a second drive stun to the suspect’s back, which gained full compliance. There were no injuries to anyone involved.

County, Berlin Working To Limit Fire Siren Hours; BFC Proposes No Whistle After 10 P.M.

BERLIN — Out of respect to residents and guests, the Berlin Fire Company (BFC), with the unanimous support of the Mayor and Council, would like to limit the hours that the fire siren in town would sound to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. The company is also still evaluating the location of its physical fire whistles downtown and could … Continue reading

Island Horses Get Sick After Raiding Camps

ASSATEAGUE — At least two wild horses on Assateague became ill after raiding campsites and eating human food, further illustrating the importance of limiting interaction between humans and the wild animals on the barrier island. Ironically, just a week after Assateague officials posted a picture on their Facebook page about a wild horse named Chama Wingapo raiding a tent for … Continue reading

Ocean City Snared In D.C. Mayor, Harris Squabble

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City this week found itself snared in the middle of a simmering feud between the mayor of Washington, D.C. and Congressman Andy Harris (R-Md.) that included a call for a boycott of the resort. Harris, whose district includes Ocean City, Worcester County and the entire Eastern Shore, last week was able to get an amendment attached … Continue reading

License Board Institutes New Policy For Underage Sales

SNOW HILL — Even with a high number of violations logged this spring, fines for Worcester County bars, stores and restaurants that sold alcohol to minors were relatively light at this month’s Board of License Commissioners (BLC) meeting. The board has also adopted a new policy for infrequent offenders that will discipline them with a letter of reprimand instead of … Continue reading

Boat Ramp Ordinance Approved Despite Property Owner Complaints

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City officials this week moved forward with the next step in a potential condemnation process for a parcel of bayfront land needed to accommodate a new public boat ramp, but not before one last impassioned plea from the property owner to allow negotiations to continue. In 2012, the Mayor and Council approved the development of a … Continue reading

OC Police Investigating Weekend Attack On Municipal Bus Driver

OCEAN CITY — Resort detectives are currently investigating an attack by multiple individuals on an Ocean City bus driver early Saturday morning. Although the probe is ongoing, Lindsay O’Neal of the Ocean City Police Department’s Public Affairs Office confirmed Monday that on Saturday, June 14 at about 1 a.m. multiple suspects got into a verbal altercation of some sort with … Continue reading

Burglary Suspect Apprehended After Two Major Search Efforts

OCEAN PINES — A few more details emerged this week on the capture of a Berlin man sought for four days in connection with a string of burglaries in the area. Orion Christopher Conway, 24, of Berlin, was captured on Tuesday afternoon following a massive search effort in and around Ocean Pines. The initial search for Conway began late Friday … Continue reading

Ocean City Brewery’s Requests Clear Planning Hurdle

OCEAN CITY – The question of when the new Ocean City Brewing Company remains unclear, but support from the Planning and Zoning Commission to add a grain silo and bottling and canning to the business brings it one step closer. On Tuesday evening, a public hearing was held before the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider amending Ocean City Brewing … Continue reading

More Worcester School Security Upgrades Ahead

SNOW HILL — Expanding on the initial steps taken last year, the Worcester County Commission unanimously approved funding for a second phase of school security upgrades this week. Last year the county decided to employ armed School Resource Officers (SRO) in its schools under the purview of the Sheriff’s Department. Other security measures like ID scanners and buzzer systems were … Continue reading