June Police Report Confirms Major Increase In Weapons Violations; 111 Arrests Up 178% Over June 2019

June Police Report Confirms Major Increase In Weapons Violations; 111 Arrests Up 178% Over June 2019
File photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – A report on police activity for the month of June highlighted a notable increase in custodial and weapons arrests in Ocean City.

On Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro presented the Ocean City Police Commission with a report on police activity in June.

Throughout last month, the department reported 6,144 officer calls for service and 3,141 citizen calls for service. Buzzuro said calls for service in both categories represented a decrease from June 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic records.

In the top 25 calls for service, city ordinance violations decreased from 2,947 in 2019 and 1,757 in 2020 to 1,685 in 2021. The agency also reported decreases in traffic stops, citizen assists, thefts that have already occurred and public safety concerns, to name a few.

“Most things are in line with where we were two years ago,” he told commission members this week.

When asked why the town reported nearly 3,000 city ordinance violations in 2019, Buzzuro noted it was the result of increased activity prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year, because of COVID, there was a difference in the amount of activity and productivity in terms of ordinance violations because of the nature of the calls and the amount of manpower to handle those calls for service. So we are getting back to a degree of normalcy in terms of police operations on the street in June … We see we are getting back to some levels that we had previously seen and hopefully we can start to reduce those numbers moving forward.”

In the department’s June enforcement report, OCPD recorded two criminal citations and 773 custodial arrests, an increase from 552 in 2019 and 600 in 2020.

“Drug arrests are up considerably from two years ago,” Buzzuro added, “almost doubled.”

While the agency reported fewer DUI arrests in June, Buzzuro noted an uptick in weapons arrests.

Last month, there were 111 weapons arrests, compared to 40 in 2019 (178% percent) and 73 in 2020 (52%). Of those weapons arrests, 59 were for knives and 34 were for firearms.

“When we break that out, you see that 34 of them are firearms arrests, compared to two years ago where there were five,” Buzzuro said. “Last year we saw that trend unfortunately begin to develop at 23.”

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed.

“What we’re seeing is that’s what’s happening all across the country,” he said.

When asked about the department’s plans to increase sleeper patrols in the downtown area this summer, Capt. Elton Harmon said OCPD had already issued 40 citations for sleeping in vehicles.

“Last night we made two arrests …,” he told commission members. “They were sleeping in the vehicle and the vehicle turned out to be stolen. The subjects were arrested. So we’re continuing to do what we said we would do.”

Buzzuro commended OCPD officers and leadership for their proactive enforcement, not only at the south end of the resort but at the north end as well.

“We moved a lot of personnel down south, but we also had a number of contingent personnel up north,” he said, “and we’re maximizing their employment with high visibility.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.