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Increase in larcenies from vehicles leads to rise in crime stats in Shores

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 7, 2020

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Grosse Pointe Shores experienced an increase in larcenies from vehicles between 2018 and 2019, but officials say the community remains one of the safest in Michigan.

Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte said the increase in larceny from auto incidents — from seven in 2018 to 24 in 2019 — caused an increase in Part I crimes last year in the city. Part I crimes are considered the more serious offenses by the FBI. In the Shores, Part I crimes rose from 10 in 2018 to 29 in 2019, according to the city’s recently released 2019 crime report.

“They all were unlocked,” Schulte said of Shores vehicles that were hit by larceny suspects last year. “That is the reason for the (overall crime) spike in most of the Grosse Pointes, is larceny from auto.”

In incidents like these, Schulte said, there’s almost always a crew that’s targeting the area. As soon as the crew is arrested — which was the case in 2019 — the crimes stop. Schulte said residents can play a pivotal role in stopping these crimes from occurring.

“Very seldom do we get a smashed (vehicle) window,” said Schulte, who asked residents to park vehicles in their garages, if possible.

“Remove items of value,” he continued. “We’re trying to reduce crimes of opportunity. Let’s not help the subject out.”

Because many larceny from auto suspects are only interested in taking valuables from unlocked vehicles, they can act quickly and without attracting attention.

“They’re very difficult to catch,” Schulte said. “They lift door (handles) and rifle through cars, and they’re on their way.”

Schulte said his department is “very grateful to the residents” for all of their help and support.

As to other Part I crimes, there were two burglaries/attempted burglaries in 2019, compared to zero in 2018 and two in 2017, and there were two auto thefts in 2019, the same as 2018. For the last five years — including 2019 — the annual crime report shows that the Shores has had no homicides, forcible rapes, arsons or robberies.

“We had a good year,” Schulte said. “The statistics remained historically low. We believe it’s due to an educated public, who report these incidents, and a dedicated road crew who are out there (patrolling).”

Besides a low crime rate, Schulte said the small but dedicated detective bureau has a high clearance rate, meaning that many incidents are resolved with arrests or confessions. He said the Shores clearance rate of 64% is 36% higher than the state average.

The report shows that emergency medical runs rose to 128 in 2019, up from 90 in 2018.

Mayor Ted Kedzierski said the Shores Public Safety Department not only keeps the crime rate low, but also keeps residents safe in medical emergencies. In the Shores, all public safety officers are tripled-trained in police, fire and as either paramedics or emergency medical technicians.

“Our No. 1 service which attracts people is public safety,” Kedzierski said. “People don’t have to worry about outside medical (response) because our officers are there within two minutes” and can immediately provide needed medical services, including starting a patient on medicine.

In an emergency, Kedzierski continued, “every second is precious.”

In June, the Shores rolled out an enhanced version of Nixle alerts to provide more detailed data and information about a greater range of emergencies — including weather and flooding — to residents.

“We are really encouraging all of our residents to sign (up with) Nixle” to receive the expanded Shores alerts, Schulte said.

Residents can sign up for text messages and email alerts through Nixle, Schulte said. The enhanced Nixle allows Shores officials to put out notices such as missing persons; he said the alerts could include a photo of the missing person and a map showing their last known location. The city can now send alerts just to people in a specific neighborhood as well, in the event of an emergency that might require residents to either stay in their homes or avoid that area, Schulte said. He said the messages will be sent securely to residents who sign up for them.

“It’s going to be a really great tool in the future,” Schulte said.

To sign up for the enhanced Nixle alerts, visit www.nixle.com.

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