OC Police Report Finds 3% Drop In Overall Crime

OCEAN CITY — The full Mayor and COuncil last week got a look at the Ocean City Police Department’s 2014 Annual Report, and the news was generally good with a 3-percent reduction in overall crime.

Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro last Thursday presented the highlights of the department’s 2014 annual report to the Mayor and Council. Buzzuro said statistically, 2014 was a good year for the resort with an overall 3-percent reduction in the number of Part I offenses. The chief said a telling statistic in the report were the percentages of calls for service initiated by the department versus the number of calls initiated by private citizens, suggesting the police department was more proactive in 2014.

“Our officers worked very hard in 2014 responding to over 91,000 calls for service throughout the city,” he said. “Less than 25 percent of those calls were initiated by citizens, which reveals our officers were taking care of problems before they were noticed by our residents and visitors. Part of our mission is to keep the quality of life high in Ocean City and I believe our officers worked hard to hold true to that mission in 2014.”

The OCPD handled 2,206 Part I offenses in 2014, which came in 3 percent lower than the five-year average. The greatest percentage of decrease in Part I offenses was in the robbery category, which declined by 39 percent in 2014. Offsetting the decrease in robbery responses was a spike in the number of forcible rape cases, which went up 133 percent over the five-year average. The five-year average for forcible rape cases is six and there were 14 cases handled in 2014.

Overall, there was one case of criminal homicide in the resort in 2014, the rather high profile manslaughter case in August. There were 14 robberies reported throughout the year, 58 aggravated assaults, 793 simple assaults, 220 cases of breaking and entering, 1,082 cases of larceny or theft and 24 motor vehicle thefts.

In terms of total enforcement actions, there were 2,894 custodial arrests in 2014, down from 3,021 in 2013 and a six-year high of 4,355 in 2012. Buzzuro told the council there were 196 weapons violations in 2014, including 16 involving firearms, representing a 5-percent increase over the prior year. There were 8,448 total traffic citations issues to go along with 13,862 warnings. The department also issued 7,469 parking tickets.

Buzzuro praised the department’s DUI enforcement detail, which included officers with specialized training hitting the streets to get dangerous drivers off resort streets. The department was proactive in getting the message out about the special enforcement detail, which paid dividends, according to Buzzuro, who promised to expand the program this year.

“I think this is very positive,” he said. “I think the message is getting out. Folks are behaving themselves more than they ever have.”

The OCPD also initiated an improved citizen tip line for reporting suspicious activity in 2014, an initiative that has already proven its worth, according to Buzzuro.

“The tip line has been very useful thus far,” he said. “We’ve solved cases and followed leads. It’s doing what we hoped it would do.”

Buzzuro said 2014 overall was a successful year for the department.

“I would like to close by thanking the men and women of the Ocean City Police Department for their continued commitment and dedication to our community,” he said. “It is their sacrifices and hard work that maintain the high quality of life we enjoy here in Ocean City and I can promise the same level of high standards in 2015.”