Ocean City Today

Annual police report reveals rise in rape, robbery numbers

By Greg Ellison | Mar 22, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison Police Chief Ross Buzzuro highlighted the importance of community partnership while presenting the department’s 2017 annual report to the City Council on Monday.

(March 23, 2018) Despite a decline in serious crime in Ocean City last year, the number of rapes, robberies and vehicle thefts went up, according to statistics presented to the City Council Monday by Police Chief Ross Buzzuro.

In reviewing his 2017 annual report, Buzzuro’s presentation showed that part one offenses, which includes homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and vehicle thefts, dropped by 13 percent in 2017 compared to the prior five-year average.

“Anytime you’re in double-digit figures with part one crimes on an annual basis that is significant,” he said.

The largest decrease last year was a 20 percent reduction in burglaries, which dropped to 113 from 142 in 2016.

The number of rapes reported, however, climbed from 14 in 2016 to 27 in 2017, while vehicle thefts went up to 26 cases last year as compared to 16 the previous year. Also during 2017, robbery reports went up from 28 in 2016 to 32 last year.

Other mixed results were noted in traffic statistics, with pedestrian collisions dropping by about one third of the five-year prior average.

“However, we actually saw more bicycle collisions,” he said. “We’re hoping with adding lights, further education and a degree of enforcement, we can see a decrease.”

Buzzuro also praised the Narcotics and Vice Unit for working with allied agencies to stop the flow of illicit drugs. During 2017, the unit made more than 100 arrests, executed 50 search warrants and conducted nearly 100 undercover drug buys.

Among the priorities for the patrol division last year was protecting the Boardwalk, Buzzuro said.

“In another testament to our proactive nature, 324 weapons were seized by officers last year,” he said.

To continue fostering positive community relations, Buzzuro highlighted a number of outreach efforts that will occur again in 2018, including, Coffee with Cops, J-1 safety nights, National Night Out, and the holiday toy drive.

“The mounted unit is going to be doing K-9 training cards again,” he said. “We just couldn’t keep enough of them [because] the kids just love them.”

Buzzuro also noted the assistance provided by alumni of the Citizen Police Academy.

“In November, we graduated about a dozen and will do it again in September 2018,” he said. “The civilian side is truly one of the backbones to the agency.”

Looking ahead, Buzzuro said the 2018 focus would continue to be reducing crime statistics and furthering strong relations with citizens and business.

“We like to see lower crime and lower arrests,” he said. “We are looking at a lower crime [rate] so far the first quarter of this y

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