Those who monitor local crimes statistics may have noticed an apparent increase in numbers this year. There’s a good explanation for that, and it doesn’t involve more crime.
Back in February, during an Ocean City Police Commission meeting, Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro and Captain Mike Colbert provided details about their transition to a more uniform and detailed incident reporting system, used throughout the country, which will skew our numbers for a few years.
They also broke down the latest crimes statistics, compared to the same period in 2022.
The National Incident-Based Reporting System
The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) has been around since the 1930s, but adoption has been at the discretion of local law enforcement. The decision to fully transition was made based on the more detailed, and therefore more useful, crime summary reports available through the NIBRS.
With the new system cataloging more types of crimes, namely less serious crimes, at first the transition will give the appearance of an uptick in Ocean City crime. But that’s just a simple matter of the increased capacity to catalogue these lesser crimes.
Despite the short-term upward adjustment in crime data reporting, which will last at least a couple years, adopting the NIBRS will provide a clearer picture of the full crime statistics in the area down the road.
Crime statistics for 2022 and 2023
In the same Commission meeting, Buzzuro provided a comparison of crime statistics for the month of January in 2022 and 2023.
Overall, crimes statistics were just about even for the two years. Citizen calls for the month of January were almost identical for both years (1,761 in 2022 and 1,791 in 2023), traffic stops increased substantially, but domestic assault calls decreased from 31 to 17. Total arrests were also almost identical.
More recent statistics for the month of April in 2022 compared to 2023 mirrored the January statistics, though there was a notable downturn in arrests, 83 in 2023 compared to 116 in 2022.
Seasonal recruitment down
Also mentioned in the February meeting, recruitment for seasonal police officers and public safety aides was lagging in 2023. Since that meeting, recruitment rebounded somewhat, but the total number of seasonal officers is still slightly below 2022 numbers.
However, public safety aide recruitment was able to slightly exceed their 2022 numbers with a total of 52 hires.