OCPD Chief Ross Buzzuro

The Ocean City Police Department responded to less calls for service from citizens than it did from officers during the month of May. Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said the numbers are a testament of his department’s proactive approach rather than being reactive as in the past. The chief also said there were almost 100 less custodial arrests in May 2022 than in May 2021.

A decrease in calls for service from citizens and an increase in calls for service from officers in May is evidence that the department’s move toward more of a proactive approach to crime is working, Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro told the Police Commission Monday.

The monthly crime statistics he reported to the commission showed the department responded to 1,617 calls for service from citizens in May 2022, or 503 fewer calls than the same period in 2021.

By comparison, the department responded to 3,179 calls for service from officers in the field last month, or 655 more than in May 2021.

Each month, the chief and his department track the top 25 calls for service, which include things such as traffic stops, city ordinance violations, 911 hang-up calls, drug violations, animal nuisance complaints and trespassing.

Of those top 25 calls, 18 saw what the chief referred to as significant decreases. For example, calls to assist citizens dropped from 487 in 2021 to 354 last month, disorderly individuals dropped from 366 to 263, animal complaints decreased from 118 to 70, and noise complaints fell from 94 to 51.

Just like certain types of calls decreased, others saw increases.

The department responded to 1,046 traffic stops last month, compared to 956 during the same period last year, city violations increased to 828 from 511, and drug violations went up to 76 from 45.

“The numbers are very telling,” Buzzuro said, adding that they show a more proactive than reactive approach.

Ocean City Police also saw almost 100 fewer custodial arrests, with 239 being made last month compared to 333.

Of the arrests, 29 were for drugs other than marijuana, 32 were from DUIs, and 35 were for weapons.

While the number of DUI arrests dropped, drug arrests were up as were weapons arrests.

The breakdown of weapons taken off the streets include 12 firearms, 16 knives, and the rest “other,” or things like pepper spray, batons, and electronic stun guns.

Additionally, the department issued 121, or nearly 40 fewer citations for smoking on the boards than last year.

“We continue to be proactive in our efforts,” Buzzuro said.

This story appears in the print version of Ocean City Today on June 17, 2022.

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