Resort’s July Police Activity Down Considerably, Chief Reports; Smoking Citations Up

Resort’s July Police Activity Down Considerably, Chief Reports; Smoking Citations Up
File photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – A decrease in police activity for the month of July highlighted a report presented to resort leaders this week.

On Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro presented the Ocean City Police Commission with an update on police activity for the month of July.

Last month, Buzzuro said, calls for service dropped significantly from July 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic data. Officer calls for service decreased from 7,204 in 2019 to 5,036 in 2021, while citizen calls for service decreased from 3,757 in 2019 to 3,201 in 2021.

“The gauge is going in the right direction,” he said. “Less calls for service means less need for police service and less activities we need to address.”

In the top 25 calls for service, parking complaints increased from 761 to 899, citizen assists decreased from 1,336 to 732 and alcohol violations decreased from 360 to 209.

Buzzuro also noted that calls for city ordinance violations had decreased from nearly 3,000 in 2019 to 1,351 in 2021, and traffic stops decreased from 1,620 to 782. He attributed the substantial decreases to changes in enforcement.

“There’s a difference in the way we are policing, especially on the Boardwalk,” he said. “It’s all very positive. We’re working smarter, not harder.”

He said deployment was a contributing factor when it came to the 50% decrease in traffic stops.

“We have more officers committed to the downtown area. That’s part of the reason for less car stops …,” he explained. “We’re spending a lot of time on the Boardwalk or off the Boardwalk on side streets, not necessarily spending the amount of time on Coastal Highway, midtown or uptown.”

In the department’s July enforcement report, the OCPD recorded 456 custodial arrests, 49 marijuana citations and 25 weapons arrests. Buzzuro noted most enforcement numbers were in line with previous years.

The department also reported issuing 339 smoking citations on the Boardwalk throughout the month of July, representing a 670% increase from last July. He noted that number had increased from 17 in July 2019 and 44 in July 2020.

“In the last two months, we’ve written almost 800 citations,” he said. “The good news with that is we are being very proactive and keeping a close eye on the Boardwalk.”

Councilman and commission member Lloyd Martin commended the police department for its proactive enforcement throughout the month of July.

“I think it’s a good trend,” he said.

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed.

“The number of emails is down significantly, specifically with regards to complaints on the Boardwalk …,” he added. “I think that shows that there are results overall in the attitude people are observing on the Boardwalk.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

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.