PERRY TWP. - Perry Township Police recorded fewer overall incidents last year, but more traffic crashes and more criminal arrests, including more domestics and more non-felony drug arrests.
The numbers were noted in the recently released year-end report of police activity, along with some new information Police Chief Mike Emigh didn't have available to study previously: A breakdown of the zones where the calls occurred.
According to the pie chart showing each zone, the majority of the calls last year, 29.8 percent, occurred in the southwest sector of the township, which Emigh attributed to the traffic crashes and travel along the bypass.
"The majority of our traffic flow comes from that sector," he said.
The southeast sector came next, with 23.2 percent of the calls. Emigh explained that 63 of the 134 traffic crashes occurred in the two southern sectors, where the state Route 45 bypass covers five major intersections between West State Street and South Lincoln Avenue, including Depot Road, state Route 9 and Georgetown Road.
The northeast and northwest sectors covered less calls, with 22.9 percent in the northwest and 14.8 percent in the northeast, but recorded more traffic crashes, with 69 between the two areas. Emigh pointed out that those areas include the U.S. Route 62 bypass, which goes from West State Street up to the four-lane highway, which stretches from state Route 14 to North Lincoln Avenue.
Overall traffic crashes increased from 93 in 2012 to 134 in 2013. Of those 134, there were 23 people who went to a hospital. Emigh said it's possible the mild summer could have contributed because when it's nice out, people are "out moving" and there's more traffic on the roads. He also said there's more truck traffic now due to the shale boom and the employees of the industry.
The number of reported incidents dropped from 1,632 in 2012 to 1,571 in 2013, which he said could be attributed to a number of reasons. When officers have multiple calls to one address, it may be reported under one complaint instead of multiple complaints. They also don't make out a complaint for every call, such as questions about non-police business or basic information.
Emigh said calls decreased in some high-complaint areas because of a drop in population in those areas. With the zone pie chart, he was able to see the percentage of calls for "certain problem areas that police keep an eye on," including Salem Acres (the apartment complex off of Prospect Street), West Perry Street, Benton Road and the C&C Trailer Court off of West State Street.
The year-end report showed that criminal arrests increased dramatically for both adults and juveniles, increasing from 106 to 172 for adults and from 6 to 11 for juveniles. According to Emigh, the department had a lot of drug arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia, such as needles, pipes and spoons. The number of non-felony drug-related arrests increased from 12 to 17. Domestic violence complaints increased from 46 to 56, but he said not all of those are arrests.
Other notable numbers included an increase in drunk driving arrests from 21 to 27, a big drop in theft reports from 82 to 47, a drop in harassment complaints from 37 to 16, an increase in neighbor disputes from 16 to 31, a drop in assault reports from 13 to 6 and an increase in stolen vehicle reports from 0 to 5.
Medical assists and alarm drops decreased, while assists to other agencies stayed about the same.
"For the amount of manpower that our department has, I believe the residents of Perry Township can be assured that they're well-protected and the police will be there for them," Emigh said.
The department includes five full-time officers and three part-time officers. The full-time roster includes the chief, one sergeant, one detective and two patrolmen. The part-timers are all patrolmen. The department's fleet includes four cruisers on the road and a new cruiser on the way which will feature some new graphics while keeping the red, white and blue color scheme.
He said he's planning to assign an officer part-time to the Columbiana County Drug Task Force probably in the spring, once the department's new part-time hire is trained and ready. The county commissioners announced last year they would offer funds to communities which place officers on the DTF. The last time the township had an officer with the DTF was about 15 years ago.
"The funds allow me to hire a replacement for the person I'm sending down there without jeopardizing the quality of the protection for residents," Emigh said.
He also commented on the formalization of a mutual aid agreement with the Salem Police Department. The two entities had already been backing each other up for years.
"The city and the township will continue to work together to provide protection for all the residents of Perry Township, including the city of Salem," he said.