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Crime rates ‘historically low’ in Shores in 2018

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 17, 2019

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — When it comes to crime, 2018 was another fairly quiet year in Grosse Pointe Shores.

In the recently released 2018 crime report, Part I crimes, which are classified by the FBI as more serious offenses, fell from 15 incidents in 2017 to 10 in 2018. There were no robberies, burglaries, murders, rapes or arsons reported last year in the Shores.

“These numbers are historically low, and they remain low,” Public Safety Director John Schulte said at a March 19 Shores City Council meeting. “There isn’t a (police) chief in Michigan who wouldn’t love to give this report.”

The only year in recent history with fewer Part I crimes was 2014, in which there were only five such crimes.

There were two vehicle thefts last year, but in one, the suspect entered an unlocked SUV and used the key fob — found in the console — to drive off; police soon recovered that vehicle nearby in Grosse Pointe Farms. In the second vehicle theft, Schulte said, a resident who was selling a vehicle was defrauded by a suspect who paid for the vehicle using what turned out to be $9,500 in counterfeit $100 bills.

“We did … recover the (fraudulently purchased) car, and we broke up that counterfeit ring,” Schulte said of what turned out to be a multi-agency investigation.

Of what Schulte said are the Shores’ “very few” larcenies, he said there haven’t been any at Osius Park in years. Larcenies — the most common Part I offenses in the Shores — numbered seven in 2018, down from 13 in 2017. In 2014, the only year of the past five with fewer larcenies, there were only two such crimes.

Part II crimes, considered less serious offenses, rose slightly, from 119 in 2017 to 124 in 2018, but Schulte noted that these offenses often arise out of diligent police work, such as traffic stops for drunken driving. There were 51 arrests for operating while intoxicated last year — only slightly fewer than the 54 OWI arrests in 2017. The second largest type of Part II crimes were fraud and identity theft, which totaled 34 in 2018 — up from 24 in 2017. Schulte said these cases include drivers who have fraudulent vehicle insurance, which is becoming increasingly common, as is credit card fraud and identity theft.

“Most of those cases aren’t initiated here,” Schulte said of identity theft, which often involves suspects in other cities or countries.

“I think, looking at these numbers, you should be very proud of your department,” City Councilwoman Tina Ellis said.

Speaking after the meeting, Schulte said there are several factors that contribute to the Shores’ low crime rates.

“No. 1 is that we have very well-educated residents that are reporting suspicious persons or vehicles,” he said. “We have a very aggressive road patrol, that if they see something suspicious, they stop and investigate.”

The greatest number of crimes in any of the Grosse Pointes “are crimes of opportunity — (specifically) larcenies,” Schulte said. He said most Shores residents are aware of this and remember to lock vehicle and home doors and windows, which discourages such crimes.

“I give an incredible amount of credit to my command staff and patrol staff, who are out there every day,” Schulte said. “(And) our paramedic work is second to none.”

The fact that the officers work well together has played a pivotal role in the department’s success as well, Schulte said.

He said he’s thankful for the support the department gets from residents, whose donations have enabled them to purchase vehicles, equipment and other needed items.

“We’re extremely grateful to the residents for all they do for us,” Schulte said.