PERRY TOWNSHIP - Criminal arrests and drunken driving arrests decreased slightly, traffic citations increased significantly and the number of overall complaints increased by quite a bit in Perry Township last year.
That's what the numbers indicated in the 2012 Perry Township Police Year-End Report released recently by Chief Mike Emigh, who said a new computer program may be responsible for complaint calls increasing from 1,481 in 2011 to 1,632 in 2012.
He explained that whether to fill out a complaint used to be at an officer's discretion, but the new software from the state of Ohio requires a complaint form to be filled out for everything. The new system was installed in August.
The number of traffic citations also increased from 710 in 2011 to 792 in 2012, which he attributed to the computer laptops in the cruisers, enabling officers to access information about a vehicle at their fingertips.
"We get a quicker response with the laptops," he said.
Arrests were down overall, with adult arrests decreasing from 116 in 2011 to 106 in 2012, juvenile arrests decreasing from 14 in 2011 to six in 2012, warrant arrests down from 53 in 2011 to 52 in 2012 and arrests for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs decreasing from 39 in 2011 to 21 in 2012.
Emigh's opinion was that people realize they're going to end up being thrown in jail. He also said he believed more people may be back to work and the economy may be on the upswing, so people aren't at home getting into trouble.
Domestic violence calls dropped from 53 in 2011 to 46 in 2012. Burglaries decreased from 17 in 2011 to five in 2012, a statistic the chief said he was happy about. Thefts only increased slightly, from 79 in 2011 to 82 in 2012. He said break-ins into cars late in the year probably affected that number.
He wasn't sure why assaults increased, going from nine in 2011 to 13 in 2012. Harassment complaints dropped from 61 in 2011 to 37 in 2012 and neighbor disputes dropped from 27 in 2011 to 16 in 2012. Civil disputes, which could deal with child custody or property, increased from 21 in 2011 to 31 in 2012.
"Most everything stayed on an even keel," Emigh said.
Other numbers reported included: state reportable crashes, 93 in 2012 (94 in 2011); medical assists, 47 in 2012 (39 in 2011); alarm responses, 68 in 2012 (43 in 2011); and assists to other agencies, 77 in 2012 (128 in 2011).
Emigh said he was glad some of the major crimes were going down. He said officers were out patrolling and keeping their eyes out for anything.
"The officers' presence has a lot to do with the decreases in some of the areas, like burglaries. They're always out and about," he said, adding they employ active traffic enforcement.
He said it's been two or three years since his department has been at full strength, noting that one of the five full-time officers in the department has been off with an injury for an extended period of time and he's down to four part-timers since one just left for a full-time job with the Salem Police Department. He's planning to replace the officer and said the part-timers have done a good job filling in the spots. The department had been without the part-timer who just left for Salem because he was serving a combat tour in Afghanistan. He had just returned in November.
"I'd like to thank the residents for believing in their police department and having faith in us," Emigh said. "We have a nice group of residents. They've been very supportive of the police department."
Emigh said he's looking forward to the next year-end report because he'll be able to provide more information due to the new computer program for complaints, including pie charts. He said he created zones with the new system and can track what's happening in certain areas and look for patterns of activity.