OCEAN CITY – A review of police statistics for the month of June revealed fewer calls for service and a decrease in drug and weapons arrests, among other things.
On Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro presented members of the Ocean City Police Commission with an update on police activity for the month of June.
Compared to the two previous years, Buzzuro reported this week that the month of June saw fewer calls for service.
“It’s a very telling indicator as to where we were in 2020 and last year, and where we are now,” he said.
In June, officer calls for service decreased from 6,144 in 2021 to 5,182 in 2022. And citizen calls for service decreased from 3,141 to 2,739.
“June activity saw a true shift in terms of calls for service,” Buzzuro said.
Under the top 25 calls for service, Buzzuro noted that city ordinance violations decreased from 1,685 to 1,441, parking violations decreased from 726 to 440 and collisions decreased from 319 to 231.
“That’s good news for public safety, but it’s also good news for us,” he said. “By not tying us up, it allows us to do other things and continue to be proactive.”
Buzzuro also noted that traffic stops had increased from 1,002 to 1,133 and controlled dangerous substance violations had increased from 190 to 255.
“We are seeing an uptick of those …,” he said. “Once again, that’s because of really proactive enforcement.”
Under June enforcement, custodial arrests decreased from 773 in 2021 to 519 in 2022, drug arrests decreased from 78 to 48 and weapons arrests decreased from 111 to 79.
“We saw a drop-off from last year to this year,” Buzzuro said.
Reviewing statistics from last month, Buzzuro said overall calls for service declined.
He noted, however, that the department continued in its enforcement efforts, particularly in the downtown areas.
“Calls for service and activity kind of give you a good idea of how we are performing our operations,” he said. “We are very proactive and it’s very structured as far as what we are doing downtown on the Boardwalk.”
He added, “All in all, a very promising month compared to what we’ve experienced the last couple of summers.”
Councilman Lloyd Martin, commission chair, agreed.
“It’s been a good June,” he said.
Mayor Rick Meehan applauded the OCPD, as well as its seasonal officers and public safety aides.
“They are very engaging this year,” he added. “They’re making eye contact and talking to people more so than we’ve ever seen, which is what we want them to do. They’ve really done a great job.”
Officials also highlighted the department’s body-worn camera program, which was implemented ahead of the summer season.
“It’s worked, probably in some ways a little better than we anticipated …,” Buzzuro said. “It’s going very well.”
Meehan said the body-worn cameras have been an effective de-escalation tool during public interactions.
“You can see it when the officer goes up to somebody and lets them know that they are being recorded,” he said.
“Right away, sometimes, it helps calm the situation down.”
“Body cameras seem to take the air out of the scenario, so to speak …,” he said. “All in all, it’s extremely valuable, and we are grateful for the support.”
Buzzuro also highlighted the department’s use of City Watch cameras. While the camera system includes locations along the entire Boardwalk, the town last year began expansion efforts along the Baltimore Avenue corridor.
“It’s allowing us further depth, and it’s working out good for us as well,” he said. “A number of incidents were captured through City Watch. With a combination of the two, we are moving in the right direction with our statistical data.”