OCEAN CITY – A report on police statistics for September highlighted the impact of last month’s unsanctioned pop-up car rally.
On Wednesday, Ocean City Police Department Chief Ross Buzzuro presented the Ocean City Police Commission with a report on police activity for the month of September.
Compared to the same time period last year, officer calls for service increased 12.4% and citizen calls for service increased 8.9%. In the top 25 calls for service, Buzzuro noted city ordinance violations increased from 394 to 714 and disorderly calls increased from 787 to 905. Traffic stops, however, decreased from 2,607 to 1,954.
“These numbers were bolstered in September because of the pop-up car rally,” he said.
Buzzuro noted weapons arrests increased from 12 to 40, criminal citations increased from 10 to 82 and custodial arrests jumped from 293 to 455.
“That is significantly higher and is also attributed to pop-up,” he said.
Councilman Matt James questioned if the increased number of weapons arrests were attributed to the car rally.
“I would say yes,” Buzzuro replied. “It had to be because of the number of arrests that we made … I’m sure some of those charges are attributed to those arrests.”
But Buzzuro explained weapons arrests did not necessarily mean the possession of a firearm.
“A spring-assisted knife is usually number one in terms of what we find as far as a weapon, say, versus a firearm …,” he said. “Spring-assisted knives are prohibited in Ocean City, so we’ll see a number of arrests that are attributed to charges of a spring-assisted knife.”
Council Secretary Mary Knight also questioned why the number of traffic stops had decreased from last year.
“The number of traffic stops is significantly less,” she said. “Does that indicate there were less people in town?”
Buzzuro noted the police department’s focus this year was not only on traffic operations, but on field operations as well.
“For us, it was twofold,” he said. “We weren’t only addressing the traffic issues, we were addressing the field issues. So some of that is field operations versus traffic options. That’s why it was slightly less than last year.”
Mayor Rick Meehan suggested the police department provide the resort’s motorized special event task force with a breakdown of arrests and citations attributed to the unsanctioned car rally.
“Sometimes they aren’t really aware of the total impact and the numbers …,” he said.