Ocean City Crime Reports Dip 13% After 9 Months

OCEAN CITY – September’s crime report reflected an increase in overall calls for service to the Ocean City Police Department, but officials reported this week year-to-date records show a reduction in overall crime.
At Friday’s Police Commission meeting, it was reported September’s total calls for service, including traffic stops, business checks and assistance to citizens, totaled 9,232, which is a 19.4-percent increase from September 2012 when there were 7,729 calls for service.
Out of the total number of calls for service, 7,126 were officer initiated, which is a 26-percent increase from September 2012, and 2,106 were citizen initiated, which is a 1.7-percent increase from September 2012.
The total number of call for service, excluding traffic stops, business checks and assisting citizens, totaled 4,566, which is a 3.8-percent increase from September 2012.
Out of the top 25 calls for service, most categories saw decreases, starting with assists to OC EMS totaling 165, compared to 189 last September; theft already occurred declined from 120 last September to 110 this September; alcohol violations decreased from 103 last September to 95 this September; parking complaints or violations decreased from 119 last September to 86 this September; CDS violations dropped to 73 this September from 77 last September; civil disputes were 57 this September compared to 73 last September; and DWI investigate and/or arrest declined from 56 last September to 53 this September.
Other coded calls for service that declined included trespassing, 42 this September from 50 last September; assault already occurred, 36 this September from 45 last September; malicious destruction of property, 34 this September from 36 last September; tow impound police, 14 this September from 26 last September; report of a fight, 12 this September from 14 last September; lost property report, 11 this September from 18 last September; forgery of any kind, nine this September from 30 last September; report of any lost children, six this September from 10 last September; and indecent exposure, six this September from seven last September.
Coded calls for service that increased included disorderly, 415 this September from 406 last September; city ordinance violation, 277 this September from 189 last September; 911 hang up, 272 this September from 234 last September; suspicious person or activity, 187 this September from 176 last September; collisions, 159 this September from 150 last September; noise complaints or violations, 90 this September from 73 last September; domestic assault or dispute, 75 this September from 72 last September; warrant attempt or arrest, 52 this September from 31 last September; and breaking and entering, 21 this September from 12 last September.
There were 345 arrests made in September and 63 criminal citations issued. There were 53 drug arrests made and 49 drug citations. There were 54 DUI arrests made and 21 weapon arrests, according to OCPD data.
After nine months, a weekly breakdown reflects a 12.9-percent decrease in total crime this year compared to last year.
Part 1 Crime includes one homicide and one shooting compared to none last year. Also, there has been a decline in forcible rape with 17 so far this year from 21 this time last year; an increase in robberies with 20 this year from 16 last year; a decrease in aggravate assault with 31 this year and 49 last year; a decrease in overall burglaries with 201 this year and 250 last year; a decline in larceny with 917 this year and 1,015 last year, a decrease in common assault with 30 this year and 49 this last year; and so far there has not been any incidents of arson compared to three this time last year.
“We are now in the fourth quarter of the year with almost 300 less Part 1 Crimes than where we were last year, and that is significant because that is not only a reduction in crime that is the amount of officers on the streets … we are projecting just about in all crime categories we will see a reduction in the end of the year,” Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said.
There have been 727 common assaults so far this year compared to 810 this time last year and 56 minor sex offenses so far this year compared to 82 last year, resulting in an overall total of 2,000 crimes as of the end of September compared to 2,295 at the end of September in 2012. That represents a 13-percent decrease after nine months.
“This is very good,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “We can look at this and plan for what’s ahead.”
According to demoflush population estimates, in September the monthly average was 203,345 compared to 198,699 in September of 2012, reflecting a slight increase in population this year compared to last.
Included in every monthly crime report is the use of Electronic Control Devices (ECD), or Tasers. In September, there were a total of eight incidents involving Tasers, whether it was a display of the equipment to a warning arc, target or deployment. Out of the eight incidents, there was one deployment. It has been a city policy to review all Taser incidents at the elected official level.
On Sept. 29, officers were dispatched to a burglary. Upon arrival, an officer un-holstered his Taser and located the intoxicated subject standing in a room. The officer instructed the subject to show his hands, but the subject refused to listen. The officer deployed his Taser, which gained immediate compliance. There were no injuries to anyone involved.
Buzzuro pointed out a couple incidents where the Taser was not deployed, such as on Sept. 9 an officer noticed a subject in possession of a knife and attempted to ask the subject about the knife. The subject ignored the officer and continued to walk away. When the officer told the subject to stop, the subject stopped, but he retrieved the knife from his pocket and immediately opened the blade of the knife. Other officers arrived on the scene to assist with the situation and the subject became belligerent and started shouting at the officers in an aggressive manner. An officer targeted the subject with the Taser and gained immediate compliance. There were no injuries to anyone involved.