(May 17, 2019) Calls for service from the police department were down slightly last month, 3.4 percent compared to the previous year, while overall citizen calls for service were up nearly 10 percent, according to Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro.
Those numbers exclude traffic stops and business checks. All things being equal, total calls this April were 11.7 percent higher than a year ago, according to police numbers.
Topping the calls for service list in April were traffic stops, which were 538 versus 264 a year ago. Buzzuro, during a Police Commission meeting on Monday, said that was because officers were becoming more proactive.
“There are actually … more folks that are in-town and we are addressing violations,” he said. “We also have overtime traffic initiatives that we put in place for April and moving forward, so that’s the reason behind that. Plus, five new additional officers [were on patrol].”
Also higher were 911 hang-ups, 163 versus 102 during the same time last year. Buzzuro said he was unsure of the reason for the 50-percent increase, but it’s “something to keep an eye on.”
He said vehicle collisions were similar to the numbers a year ago. Noticeably higher were controlled dangerous substance violations, 28 versus 10 during April 2018, and noise complaints, 22 in April 2019 and just six during April 2018.
Lower were city ordinance violations, 25 this year against 39 a year ago, and civil disputes, 22 this year versus 34 in April 2018.
Police enforcement was higher in April 2019, largely driven by an increase in custodial arrests, 100 this year against 70 in 2018. Drug citations for marijuana were 29 this year versus just 11 a year ago, and DUI arrests (23 in 2019 to 12 in 2018) and weapon arrests (eight this year to zero in 2018) were also higher.
“From an operational standpoint, we kept pretty busy in April,” Buzzuro said. “But, I’m looking at the amount of activity in relation to crime instances … [and] we’re right around where we were last year.
“Although calls for service are slightly higher … there’s not something in there that we are terribly concerned about,” he added.
Mayor Rick Meehan added there were “no major crimes” last month.
“No, sir,” Buzzuro said.
Meehan joked the headline, to him, was that “BOLO’s” were down from a year ago, 42 to 55. BOLO is a police acronym for “Be On the Look Out.”