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Officials say report shows crime remains low in Grosse Pointe Park

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


GROSSE POINTE PARK — While the actual number of crimes increased between 2018 and 2019, Grosse Pointe Park officials say that has more to do with 2018 being a record low year for crime than with 2019 being a more dangerous year in the city.

Addressing the Grosse Pointe Park City Council during a meeting March 9, Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni said the number of index and non-index crimes combined rose from 329 in 2018 to 379 in 2019. But index crimes — considered the more serious class of offenses by the FBI — rose by only two from the prior year, from 177 in 2018 to 179 in 2019. Overall, 2019 was still the second-lowest year for crime in the last five years.

Calling it “another fabulous report,” City Councilman Daniel Grano said the Park Public Safety Department was “kind of a victim of (its) own success last year.”

Poloni said one night of vandalism accounted for 36 separate reports of malicious destruction of property, a non-index crime.

“We had one incident where 36 vehicles were spray-painted in one evening, Poloni said.

Larcenies — the most common of the index offenses — were down slightly from 2018, when there were 149 such crimes; there were 138 larcenies reported in 2019. In 2017, there were 139 larcenies, and in 2016, there were 163.

Motor vehicle thefts were up a bit, to 14 in 2019 from nine in 2018, but even so, they remained low. There were 14 vehicle thefts reported in 2017, 31 in 2016 and 22 in 2015.

Burglary and home invasion were down, to 13 incidents in 2019 from 17 in 2018. 2017 saw an especially low number of burglaries and home invasions, with 11 incidents, compared to 20 in 2016 and 29 in 2015. Crimes in this category include incidents at homes as well as businesses, the annual report states.

Armed robbery and unarmed robbery were both up from 2018, when there were none of either of these crimes, to two apiece in 2019. There were two armed robberies and two unarmed robberies in 2017.

“Thank you, chief,” Mayor Robert Denner told Poloni. “Excellent report. You’ve got a great department.”

City Councilman James Robson also praised the department.

“I want to commend the chief and our officers for a job well done,” Robson said. “They’re out there and doing a good job.”

Poloni said 2019 saw the retirements of several members of the department who had 25 years or more of service: officers Thomas Lazarski and Michael Najm (the latter of whom joined the Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Department), and Lts. Jeff Longo, Ed Arnold and James Vogler.

“We’re thankful to them for their service,” Poloni said.

Robson said residents can bring the crime numbers down even lower by protecting their possessions and properties.

“It’s locking doors, locking garages, locking porches and locking bikes,” Robson said. “Our homeowners insurance would be less impacted if we could do that.”