Ocean City Police Vehicle

Ocean City Police Department Chief Ross Buzzuro gave a rundown of the crime statistics for the month of December during the police commission meeting Monday, which showed a sharp increase in weapons arrests and an increase in DUIs.

The number of weapons arrests in Ocean City in December increased by more than 800 percent from where they were in 2019, according to a report presented by the police chief this week.

The city’s Police Commission met on Monday morning, and like most meetings, Chief Ross Buzzuro gave a rundown of the number of calls, arrests, and incidents.

Over the past few months, the numbers have remained consistent in terms of where they were in 2019 – 2020 is an anomaly because of covid-19, therefore the department does not use it for comparison.

During the month of December 2019, the department recorded two weapons arrests consisting of one knife and one “other,” which could be anything from brass knuckles to pepper spray.

But last month, the department recorded 19 weapons arrests – six firearms, 10 knives, and nine others.

The police department also saw an increase in the number of DUI arrests, which went from 13 in 2019 to 22 last month, as well as more arrests in general, which jumped from 76 to 108 during the same period.

Likewise, there was an increase in the number of calls for service. In December 2019, the department reported 1,652 calls from officers and citizens, not including traffic stops, business checks, and calls for assisting citizens. Last month, that number increased to 2,120, consisting of 1,630 calls from officers and 490 from citizens.

Other notable increases include traffic stops, which went from 347 to 582, disorderly behaviors from 22 to 40, and citizen assists from 84 to 128.

Several other areas saw decreases. For example, the number of 911 hang-ups went down from 81 to 79, the number of domestic assaults or disputes decreased from 32 to 23, and the number of trespassing reports dropped from nine to three.

During the same meeting, the commission was expected to discuss body cameras on police officers, which will give the department an additional tool to provide transparency during incidents. The topic was pushed off because City Solicitor Heather Stansbury was absent from the meeting.

Stansbury is expected to play a key role in coming up with the best deal possible with Axon, the company the department plans to contract for the body cameras.

This story appears in the print version of Ocean City Today on Jan. 14, 2022.

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