No Smoking Sign

Ocean City Police ticketed 120 people smoking or vaping along the Boardwalk in August, bringing the number of tickets for the year on the issue up to 1,070. Smoking and vaping are prohibited along the boards, as noted by signs posted along sidewalks leading up to them.

The Ocean City Police Department is focusing on an activity along the Boardwalk that people are prohibited from doing inside most of the establishments there and outside: smoking.

In the month of August, police officers ticketed 120 people for puffing smoke up and down the boards compared to the 34 people who were cited for the same activity in August 2019. For the year, police officers have issued 1,070 tickets for smoking, up 928 percent from 2019.

OCPD Chief Ross Buzzuro presented the statistic in his monthly report to the Police Commission on Monday morning. The report overall showed a decrease in crime between 2021 and 2019.

While statistics were shown for 2020, the year was abnormal because of the covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re moving back into levels we saw a couple years ago,” Buzzuro said.

Of the 8,403 calls for service last month, 5,583 came from officers and 1,820 from citizens.

The number one call for service was for traffic stops, even though between 2019 and 2021, the number dropped from 1,198 to 648.

Like traffic stops, the number of 911 hang-ups dropped from 906 to 714, and city ordinance violations fell from 1,866 to 702.

The chief’s report also saw notable drops in areas like disorderly conduct, alcohol violations, noise complaints, and assaults.

Drug arrests went up slightly from 18 in 2019 to 19 in 2021, and down significantly from the 35 arrests made in 2020.

Weapons arrests also went up slightly, with four more being reported than in 2019, but five less than in 2020.

Of the weapons arrests, six firearms and 11 knives were confiscated.

Overall, the consensus of the commission was that the police department’s efforts of additional enforcement of smoking along the Boardwalk have made a big difference.

“We’ve been seeing less complaints than in the past,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “The number of complaints we’re getting is significantly less, particularly the complaints on the boardwalk.”

Council President Matt James concurred and explained there are more positive reports about the vibe on the Boardwalk than negative these days.

“What we’re doing is working,” Meehan added.The Ocean City Police Department has issued 1,070 tickets to people who were seen smoking or vaping on the Boardwalk since the beginning of 2021.

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