Crime rate drops in City

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 13, 2013

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Despite the high-profile armed robbery of a couple of young girls on a Sunday morning last September — a crime that remained unsolved at press time — the City is overall a safe community.

Such were the findings of the 2012 annual crime report, which were delivered to the City Council at a meeting Jan. 28. Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni said the City experienced “a very significant decrease in crime” from 2011 to 2012.

“It’s safe to say that perception is not the same as reality in this case,” he told the council. “Grosse Pointe remains one of the safest communities to live in the state.”

Overall crime fell by 15 percent, and the more serious offenses — called index crimes — dropped by 7.5 percent between 2011 and 2012, going from 118 reported index crimes in 2011 to 109 in 2012. That’s still shy of a record low in 2009, when the City only experienced 105 index crimes, but it’s a far cry from 2007, when there were 157 index crimes reported. With a 257 index and non-index crimes total in 2012, the City tied its low record of the same figure in 2009. Index crimes include armed and unarmed robbery, burglary, murder, arson, vehicle theft and larceny, among other offenses.

Larceny — typically the most common index offense in the Grosse Pointes — was down slightly in the City, from 80 offenses in 2011 to 79 in 2012. Burglaries and home invasions, which spiked to 23 incidents in 2011 after several years of single-digit numbers, decreased slightly, falling to 20 incidents in 2012. A number of home invasions were cleared by investigations with neighboring communities that resulted in the arrest, confession and sentencing of one offender responsible for several crimes, and Poloni said the Detective Bureau was also able to apprehend three suspects in connection with a September home invasion that involved the theft of a substantial amount of fine jewelry. In that case, he said the detectives were able to recover many of the stolen items, as well, and return them to their rightful owners. The suspects in the jewelry theft were later convicted and sent to prison, according to the report.

“Their rate of closure is extremely high,” Poloni said of his detectives. “However, we’re not satisfied unless it’s 100 percent.”

Mayor Dale Scrace said he was impressed with the statistics, and credited the department for doing “a good job.”

Officials praised Poloni and his department for keeping crime low.

“They do a pretty good job to make it one of the safest places to live,” City Council member Christopher Boettcher said.

Boettcher also had particular praise for Poloni’s leadership.

“I’m seeing improvements with how friendly some of our officers are,” he said. “I’m bumping into them more. There’s definitely some changes to the good that are happening.”

City Council member Christopher Walsh said the department was running at only 47 percent of its budget as of the six-month mark in the fiscal year, for which he said they should “be commended.” Like other officials, he was pleased with the low crime figures, as well.

“People should feel safe (in the City),” Walsh said.

City Council member John Stempfle offered thanks to Poloni and his officers, dispatchers and other personnel.

“You guys are doing a fabulous job,” he said. “Just keep up the good work.”

The City is expected to honor its public safety personnel for going above and beyond the call of duty during an awards ceremony at the next City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in City Council chambers.