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Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township

July 23, 2013

So far, only minor crimes to report, police say

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

Though the mercury has been on the rise in the Eagle’s coverage area, crime has been on a steady decline, according to police in the Birmingham-Bloomfield area.

Birmingham’s Deputy Police Chief Mark Clemence said that crime this summer has been refreshingly slow, particularly in the city’s busy downtown.

“It really hasn’t been that bad. Every once in a while, you get the retail fraud during the day or evening. Or the people who tip over flower pots or some of the other décor the city has, during the night. Just stuff like that,” he said. “In terms of violent or serious crime, we haven’t experienced that. Even our routine things like drunk and disorderlys and fighting are all down.”

The calm nightlife scene is a welcome change from this time last year, when patrons of the former South Bar nightclub were accused of being involved with two separate shooting incidents in April and July 2012. Residents and nearby businesses voiced safety concerns about the establishment, and owners eventually closed the bar July 17, just one day after the second shooting incident.

“Downtown has been a very pleasant experience this summer. The chief and I are really pleased with how the downtown has been so far,” said Clemence. “But that’s so far. We still have Day on the Town, Dream Cruise, concerts in the park. But, so far, we’re really pleased with where we’re at.”

That’s not to say, however, that Birmingham has been totally free of crime this season. Clemence said that the usual “crimes of opportunity,” such as thefts from unlocked automobiles, are still taking place fairly regularly.

“Unlocked cars, not locking up bikes … things like that. If we could just get some basic safety 101 rules down, we could cut down (crime stats) even more,” he said.

A similar story is playing out in Bloomfield Township, according to Community Liaison Officer Pete Matejcik with the Bloomfield Township police. While overall crime is relatively low, cases of theft from unlocked vehicles and homes are surging, as they traditionally do during the summer.

“This time of year, we always get an increase in thefts from autos, where people leave iPads and phones and all kinds of stuff in their cars,” he said. “People who steal from vehicles, like the rest of us, like to work in the nicer weather.”

He agreed with Clemence, saying a few simple steps of precaution could help to thwart would-be thieves in the summer and all year long.

“We just have to be more vigilant. Don’t leave valuables in cars. Whenever possible, leave the car locked in a closed and locked garage,” he said. “And if you have to be away from your home for an extended period of time, your house has to be closed and locked. It just has to be.”

It’s hard for newly hired Bloomfield Hills Public Safety Chief David Hendrickson to comment on crime this summer compared to years past. He did say, however, that sunshine and warm temperatures tend to bring out not only thieves, but also scammers posing as solicitors or repair workers.

“The public should be aware of solicitors promising to repair or clean up something on the outside of a home, but may be attempting to perpetrate a scam,” said Hendrickson in an email. “If a resident has a suspicion that a person does not belong in a particular neighborhood or may be doing something against the law, please call us. We would be happy to respond and make sure everyone is safe.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.