SALEM - City police answered more calls and arrested more people in 2011, but Chief Bob Floor attributed the increases to having all three of his laid-off officers back on the streets the whole year.
"Really, overall, the numbers haven't changed that much, but having more officers on the road does appear to be helping because we have more arrests with the reports," he said this week.
Floor recently released the department's 2011 Annual Report Summary, which lists the total number of calls, the total number of reports generated by officers from those calls and the number of arrests and citations resulting from those calls and officer-initiated actions.
The number of calls increased from 12,834 in 2010 to 13,052 in 2011. The number of reports generated by patrolman from those calls increased from 7,973 in 2010 to 8,331 in 2011.
Arrests and citations increased from 762 in 2010 to 883 in 2011, with increases in drunken driving, underage consumption/possession, unruly juveniles, assaults, speeding, obstruction, stop sign violations, drug paraphernalia and marijuana possession.
Speeding citations nearly doubled, from 56 in 2010 to 106 in 2011, and charges for operating a vehicle under the influence increased from 43 in 2010 to 57 in 2011. Underage consumption/possession arrests jumped from 29 in 2010 to 44 in 2011, but the number from 2010 appeared to be a decrease from the norm, considering the numbers in 2009 and 2008 were 55 and 51. The number of assault arrests increased from 4 in 2010 to 10 in 2011.
There were no homicides, shootings or stabbings in 2011. The majority of those arrested were adult males, with most calls coming by telephone, and most calls occurring during the 4 p.m. to midnight shift. July was the month with the most calls, 1,341, followed by May with 1,225 and August with 1,216.
The department had three officers laid off on March 3, 2010. One was recalled on May 21, 2010 due to another officer's resignation. The chief was authorized to bring a second officer back on Aug. 7, 2010 and recalled the third officer on Dec. 8, 2010. According to Floor, the department remains five officers down from the number in 2006.
More manpower gives officers more time to work on cases and make arrests instead of running from call to call to call. This year the department installed a pair of cameras in various spots, always on public property, moving them periodically for a fresh pair of eyes. The purchase was an effort to reduce graffiti incidents.
Floor said they appear to have helped deter some of those incidents, even though nobody has been caught as a result of the cameras.
"Just knowing they were out there and we were looking seemed to have a positive effect on the city," he said.
As for drugs, he said the number of drug arrests appeared to be down, but the numbers don't reflect cases handled through the Columbiana County Drug Task Force, which includes a Salem officer part-time. He admitted the city has drug problems, but he said it could be a lot worse than it is.
"I want to continue doing everything we can to fight the drug problem that does exist," he said.
Regardless of everything, he said Salem is still a pretty good place to live.
"I'm pretty proud of the job the guys are doing. We're still one of the safest communities by population in the United States," he said.
The department includes 19 full-time officers, including the chief, with six part-time dispatchers. They usually have three to four cars on the road at any one time and even make use of Facebook. Floor, though, said that's not a good place to report a crime to the police. He said they would prefer people to call 330-337-6001 to report something.
The department patrolled 157,172 miles and used 13,252 gallons of gasoline in 2011.