Ocean City Crime Analysis Report Presented

OCEAN CITY – During this week’s Ocean City Police Commission meeting, Crime Analyst Brandon Reim presented an analysis of 2010’s crime in Ocean City compared to previous years.

“We’re looking at time management and crime fighting,” Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said. “We’re really focusing on those two things because it is a win-win.”

Between robberies, breaking and entering, larceny theft, arrests, drug arrests, citations, alcohol citations, calls for service and aggravated assault, it’s no surprise the summer months have the highest activity for the resort.

The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) presented the overall numbers of crimes in all categories divided by months in 2010. Starting in May, a mountain effect begins with 153 overall crimes, increasing to 375 in June, 272 in July, 269 in August and 133 in September.

Reim pointed out reasons why the numbers began to decrease by July.

“The 4th of July, which is when families start coming into town for their vacations, and that’s when college and high school students go back home because they do most of their visiting in the month of June,” Reim said.

DiPino asserted that May and September are busy months for the police department as well.

“April starts to pick up because that’s after Easter time and spring break time,” she said. “Then May picks up and then June is the busiest month … you can correlate that the more people here we’re going to have more activity.”

Reim said that the month of June holds the highest activity in robberies.

“When you look at 2009 going into 2010, starting in June you can see an increase for that month,” he said.

Looking ahead in the difference between 2010 and 2011, DiPino reported January of 2010 there were 81 burglaries in Ocean City and this year there was only nine.

The majority of the burglaries in January of 2010 were due to a string of thefts by one group of people.

June, July and August of 2010 were also busy months regarding burglaries. August holds the most activity due to a group of thieves that stole from one hotel and then moved to residential areas in the south end of town. All suspects were eventually arrested.

There was an increase in larceny thefts in 2010 compared to 2009. June and July were the busiest months with a decrease in August. DiPino also pointed out an increase in May from previous years.

Councilman Jim Hall asked what the most common things are to be stolen.

“It’s a combination of many things,” Reim said. “It could be cash…we do have some theft from autos like iPods or anything in plain view but it could be anything.”

Reim reported overall arrests between 2004 and 2010 are down 1 percent. In June of 2010, there were 1,028 arrests and that decreased to 660 by July.

“There was an increase of 11 percent in overall drug arrests in 2010 compared to 2009,” Reim pointed out.

In June of 2010, there were 388 drug arrests and decreased to 199 in July and 115 in August.

The number of citations written, not including alcohol, also soared in 2010. Beginning in May, there were 901 citations given, increasing to 1,506 in June and then decreased to 1,448 in July, 1,156 in August and 837 in September.

“We have higher activity towards the end of summer going into the fall season which is somewhat unusual,” Reim observed.

Reim reported that there was a decrease in the number of overall alcohol citations by 3.2 percent. In June of 2010, there were 1,052 alcohol citations written, due in large part to senior weekers flooding Oecan City.

There was a 15.3-percent increase in the number of service calls in 2010 compared to 2009.
Jim Hall asked if animal control was still the majority of reasons behind service calls.

DiPino replied the animal control system has been re-organized minimizing animal control calls, but 911 calls is in the “top 10” of service calls received.

There were 32 alcohol-related aggravated assaults and 34 non-alcohol related in 2009. The numbers increased in 2010 with 59 alcohol-related, 33 non-alcohol related, and nine unknown aggravated assaults. The majority of aggravated assaults are happening in the late night and early morning hours of the day, with the summer months being the busiest, according to the crime analysis.

“Alcohol is playing a significant factor in the increase we saw from 2009,” Reim said.

The areas with highest density of crimes are in the southern portion of town because it’s typically the most densely populated and where the Boardwalk is located.

“We’re looking at aggravated assaults because it is when people get hurt,” DiPino said. “They could lead to more serious things like homicide.”