Crime report shows increase between 2020 and 2021 in Grosse Pointe Woods

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 22, 2022

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GROSSE POINTE WOODS — After experiencing record low crime rates in 2020 — due, in large part, to the arrival of COVID-19 — crime rates ticked up somewhat last year in Grosse Pointe Woods but remained well below the average for the last five years.

According to findings from the 2021 annual public safety report, the total number of crimes rose from 446 in 2020 to 525 in 2021, an increase of about 18%. Public Safety Director John Kosanke said “that might seem like a big number,” but it’s not when compared with the five-year average of 561 index and non-index crimes.

Index crimes — considered to be the more serious offenses — increased from 112 in 2020 to 142 in 2021. That’s almost exclusively because of a rise in larcenies, because most other types of crime either dropped or stayed the same. For example, auto theft remained constant, with 17 reports apiece in 2020 and 2021; burglary dropped from six incidents in 2020 to five in 2021; and robbery rose but barely, with zero incidents in 2020 and one incident in 2021.

Larceny, by far the most common index crime, went from 73 incidents in 2020 to 107 in 2021. That’s still a far cry from pre-pandemic levels, however, which saw 160 larcenies in 2017, 162 in 2018 and 145 in 2019.

“Even though (larceny) went up from last year, it’s still way down,” Kosanke said.

Kosanke said the Woods experienced a string of larcenies later found to have been committed by a ring of crooks; he said his department’s night shift made arrests that shut down that particular crew. Unfortunately, there’s always another band of crooks ready to take their place, which is why Kosanke and other law enforcement officials urge residents to make it tougher for criminals to steal items in the first place.

“People need to lock their (house) doors and lock their car doors,” Kosanke said. “There’s always someone looking for an opportunity.”

Non-index crimes, considered to be less serious offenses, increased from 334 in 2020 to 383 in 2021. Fraud — which includes identity theft cases — accounts for the greatest number of non-index crimes. There were 94 frauds reported in 2020 in the Woods and 107 in 2021.

“Identity theft is one of my worst issues,” Kosanke acknowledged.

Whether it’s committed online or by phone, identity theft is becoming increasingly common.

“You need to protect your personal information,” Kosanke said. “If you feel that it’s not legitimate, don’t give out that information.”

He said experts encourage people not to click on attachments or links in an email unless the person was expecting an attachment from the sender, to closely monitor bank and credit card statements, and to consider using credit monitoring services.

“Thieves are really good at stealing things online,” Kosanke said.

He also encourages people to closely guard their phones, as most people these days store large amounts of personal information on their phones. Kosanke said his department has booklets about what to do in the event of identity theft.

“Overall, we have a very good safety record,” Mayor Arthur Bryant said. “I think our Public Safety Department does a wonderful job. We’re very happy (with this year’s annual report).”