A 2018 year-end report recently released by the Ocean Pines Police Department reveals that despite an increase in calls for service and traffic stops, the number of crimes, arrests, and traffic accidents in the community decreased.
Although some information, such as the uniform crime report, is preliminary pending review and validation by the FBI, the report reveals a larger trend within the community of an overall decrease in criminal activity at a time when the department is being called upon even more to provide services.
The report (which can be found online at oceanpines.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/OPPD-2018-Annual-Report.pdf) also indicates a significant decrease in larceny and theft, down from 123 incidents in 2017 to 72 in 2018. The past year saw no criminal homicides and just one motor vehicle theft, numbers unchanged from 2017.
However, the report does reveal a higher number of burglaries in 2018, nearly all of which were solved by arrest. In some cases, the department was able to recover stolen property.
“2018 was an extremely busy year for the Ocean Pines Police Department,” said Chief Dave Massey. “I am happy to report a serious crime decrease, despite the fact that we handled over 13,500 service calls.”
Service calls are generated by citizens and police personnel in the field and include both criminal and non-criminal incidents. The report shows that there was a 10 percent increase in calls from 2017 to 2018 – from 12,277 calls in 2017 to 13,589 in 2018 – which represents the largest number of calls for service workload on record.
“Service calls can be a variety of incidents, such as criminal complaints, checking on the welfare of our residents, mental health checks, residential property checks and even assisting our local residents when they accidentally lock their vehicles,” Massey said.
Traffic control is another significant portion of department activity, according to the report, as Ocean Pines police officers are charged with regulating speeds on nearly 80 miles of roadways in the community.
The total number of traffic stops, including written warnings and traffic citations, increased 13.8 percent in 2018, although the number of traffic accidents fell eight percent. The report indicates that alcohol-related accidents, as well as the higher alcohol content of arrests, is a good indicator that the increased traffic enforcement is necessary.
The department has also concentrated on following up on criminal investigations, per the report. Incidents in 2018 included home improvement scams, a suicide attempt, damage to Ocean Pines Golf Club, drug overdoses and civil complaints, among others.
The costs of these efforts are borne in part by grants, although the police department is a part of and funded by the Ocean Pines Association. The report highlights that nearly $500,000 in grant money was received by the department in 2018, funding everything from operational costs to specialized equipment such as infrared cameras and a ballistic shield.
Although the Ocean Pines Police Department’s workload has continued to grow, the community has the distinction of being rated one of the safest communities in Maryland, per capita, by SafeWise for 2018.
“We take great pride in offering our residents a higher level of police service,” Massey said. “Our police officers are truly community police officers who know their community and the crime patterns that exist within our community.”