FARMINGTON HILLS — Crime is down, law enforcement is up and Farmington Hills remains a safe place to live, Police Chief Chuck Nebus said during a citywide neighborhood watch meeting June 11 at the Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Road, which detailed the city’s 2012 crime statistics report.
“People have a perception that things are getting worse,” he told the Farmington Press after the meeting. “(We had) a great opportunity to share with residents (that) … they have never been safer.”
Last year, one person was killed in Farmington Hills, in comparison to two people in the murdered/willful killing category the year before, according to the report. One person each was killed during the years of 2009 and 2010, and in 2008, no one was killed.
Farmington Hills resident Robert Cipriano was murdered inside his home in April 2012. His son, Tucker Cipriano, 20, and friend Mitchell Young, 21, were charged with killing him, and with assault with intent to murder Rose and Salvatore Cipriano, Tucker’s mother and brother.
A nearly standing-room-only crowd listened to Nebus and his staff as they discussed the statistics and crime prevention tactics.
“We have a very diverse community, a diverse audience,” Nebus said. “We realize tonight there are people here from apartments, condos, homes — big ones, old ones, new ones, trailers — all over Farmington Hills representing different factions.”
Nebus said the trend in the city is that “crime is down, down, down, which is all good news for residents.”
He said that, in 2012, 13 people were robbed in comparison to 29 robbed in 2011.
“Years ago, we used to have 35, 40, 45 armed robberies a year,” he said.
Also down are forcible sex offenses. Thirty-six people in 2012 — in comparison to 40 in 2011 — were victims of sexual crimes, the report stated; Nebus said those types of crimes often occur from “known persons,” such as family members, dates and spouses.
In the larceny category, 927 people were victims last year in comparison to 911 in 2011. Since 2008, the highest number of larceny crimes was in 2009 at 1,158.
Another highlight Nebus noted was that no fatal accidents occurred on the roads in the city for the first time in decades. Nebus attributes the zero fatalities to police visibility, safety enforcements, compliance from drivers and that cars are safer, among other factors.
“A lot of things are contributing to that,” he said.
More good news for the city comes in the form of a lower number of armed robberies last year at 238, in comparison to 273 in 2011, Nebus said during the meeting.
“That is the lowest number of armed robberies that we have had in the history of Farmington Hills as a city,” he said. “(In) 1987 … we had 745 burglaries, and what we used to have in the ’70s and ’80s when I was a young officer, we used to have 1,200 or 1,300 burglaries. It surprises a lot of people, so we are doing very, very well with some of our crime.”
He added that the city is “headed in the right direction,” but one set of statics will never do a city justice.
“One year never really gives you the whole picture. You’ve got to look at three years, four years, five years,” he said.
Last year, the Police Department’s dispatch unit contracted with Farmington, which increased the city’s dispatch staff by two people.
“Farmington Hills benefitted (with a) financial gain,” he said.
In another segment of the meeting, Crime Prevention Technician Kristin Bixman discussed several tips on preventing crime through neighborhood watch.
“Neighborhood watch is adaptable for any community across the country,” she said to the crowd. “Different communities face different issues, and neighborhood watch should be designed around that.”
Bixman said that because of the many homeowner associations, community newsletters and subdivisions, it has never been easier to spread tips on crime prevention.
“If you guys are seeing some sort of trend that we are not mentioning, go ahead and put that information in,” she said.
She added that being a crime watch coordinator is what you make of it.
“It is ideal for someone who maybe works from home, or is retired or something like that. They might have a little bit more time on their hands,” she said. “It is not something you need to do all day every day. You can devote maybe once a week or once a month: whatever works with your schedule. It is just putting information out there (that) we can give you to share with your neighbors.”
Nebus said after the meeting that he hopes the attendees realize how much the Police Department is dependent on the city’s residents.
“We are dependent on them to be our eyes and ears,” he said.
He added that he also felt that many of the residents were impressed with and surprised by the level of safety in their city.
“They felt very good that they have never been safer in their homes and cars,” he said.
Attendee and resident Laura Cieslak said she learned a lot about staying safe.
“I feel good about the police presence,” she said.
For more information, go to www.ci.farmington-hills.mi.us or call (248) 871-2600.
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