OCEAN CITY – Ocean City’s police chief attributed an uptick in police activity last month to visitation and enforcement initiatives.
In Monday’s meeting of the Ocean City Police Commission, Ocean City Police Department Chief Ross Buzzuro provided an update on police activity for the month of December.
The department reported a decrease in citizen calls for service – from 545 in 2019 to 490 in 2021 – and an increase in officer calls for service. It should be noted officials used data from 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic year, to compare the town’s progress in the most accurate fashion.
“We were up considerably in officer calls for service, from 1,107 in 2019 to 1,630 in 2021,” he said. “It’s a difference of 523 calls, which is fairly significant.”
Buzzuro, however, noted the increase was likely the result of increased visitation to Ocean City during the month of December, as well as several traffic initiatives.
“It’s not necessarily a negative thing,” he said. “We were very proactive, and we can see that in the numbers.”
In the top 25 calls for service last month, Buzzuro noted that disorderly calls increased from 22 in 2019 to 40 in 2021, traffic stops increased from 347 to 582, and collisions increased from 26 to 35.
“These are just some indicators that we most likely had a higher number of people in town than we did previously in the last two years,” he said.
Under enforcement statistics, the department reported custodial arrests had increased from 76 to 108, drug arrests increased from five to 17 and weapons arrests increased from two to 19. When asked if most weapons arrests resulted from traffic stops, Buzzuro said they did.
“With those increased number of car stops, that’s also what we are netting from those car stops,” he said.
While the police department reported an uptick in activity for the month of December, Buzzuro said overall crime had decreased from the prior year.
“Overall, a very challenging year,” he said, “but crime has definitely declined from where it was last year and from the December five-year average.”
Officials noted that crime statistics continued to move in the right direction.
“We’re optimistic for 2022,” Buzzuro added. “A lot of things are going on but we’re juggling things pretty well, and we’re in a good placing moving forward this year.”