OCEAN CITY – Ocean City’s police chief reported police activity dropped significantly last month.
On Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro presented the Ocean City Police Commission with an update on police activity for August.
Last month, the OCPD reported calls for service dropped from August 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic data. Buzzuro noted officer calls for service decreased from 5,636 in 2019 to 3,563 in 2021, while citizen calls for service decreased from 3,263 in 2019 to 2,638 in 2021.
“We were significantly lower in August 2021 versus the previous two years …,” he told commission members this week. “There were nearly 600 less calls from citizens in August of 2021.”
Buzzuro also reported decreases across the board in the top 25 calls for service.
“Twenty-four out of 25 of those calls for service were lower than they were in previous years,” he said. “Traffic stops, our No. 1 call for service, were significantly lower this year. That’s well over 400 less car stops in the month of August 2021 versus 2019.”
Buzzuro also pointed out decreases in disorderly calls, collisions, alcohol violations and noise complaints.
“Every other call for service we saw a dropoff,” he said.
Under August enforcement, the OCPD reported 305 custodial arrests, eight criminal citations, 40 DUI arrests and 22 weapons arrests. Smoking citations, Buzzuro noted, increased from 34 in August 2019 to 120 last month.
“Really this year – the whole year going into September – we were at 1,070 (smoking citations),” he said. “That single statistic gives us a true idea of what we are doing on the Boardwalk, the amount of activity we are addressing.”
Mayor Rick Meehan commended police department staff this week for their efforts. He noted that while police activity dropped, crowds remained consistent with 2019 levels.
“It’s not due to a drop in attendance as far as the number of people that visit Ocean City,” he said. “It’s due to enforcement and some things we have done. I think the numbers are good.”
Meehan also noted the Mayor and Council had received fewer complaints from residents and visitors.
“The number of complaints we’ve been getting is significantly less, particularly about complaints on the Boardwalk,” he said. “I think a lot of that has to do with the proactive enforcement the department has done that has made a difference, and I think it’s resonated with our businesses and our visitors.”
Commission member and Council President Matt James agreed.
“As we haven’t seen as many negative comments, I have been receiving more and more positive feedback, specifically to Boardwalk enforcement downtown,” he said.