Royal Oak police: Serious crime down for another year

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 19, 2019

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ROYAL OAK — On March 11, the Royal Oak Police Department released its 2018 annual report, which highlighted a downward trend of crime in the city.

Part A crime was down 17.02 percent from 2017 — from 1,962 offenses to 1,628 — and Part B crime was down 18.57 percent from 2017 — from 1,400 offenses to 1,140.

Part A crime is more serious in nature. It includes murder, negligent homicide, some forcible and nonforcible sex offenses, robbery, assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, kidnapping, forgery, some frauds, some liquor law violations, embezzlement, damage to property, weapons violations, commercialized sexual offenses, drug laws and gambling.

Part B crime includes some frauds, some nonforcible sex offenses, nonviolent family offenses, operating under the influence of liquor, liquor law violations, obstruction/escape, disorderly conduct, juvenile offenses and some traffic offenses.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with the crime rates. We’re down in every major category. The only exception to that is burglaries are up, and it’s only (up by) 21 total burglaries, which is still the second-lowest year on record,” Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said. “I’m proud of my officers and the job they do every day.”

The city saw 45 burglaries in 2017 and 66 burglaries in 2018.

Crime in Royal Oak has been trending down for approximately a decade.

In 2009, Royal Oak saw 3,242 Part A offenses and 2,478 Part B offenses, down 49.78 percent and 53.99 percent, respectively.

“You want to track year to year, but you always want to put that in historical context, because people’s perception of crime and realities of crime don’t always match up,” O’Donohue said. “This city is absolutely very safe.”

He said the city’s decrease in violent crime follows a nationwide trend and that the city is evolving as a community, particularly in the amount of new development taking place.

“As a Police Department, we are focused on being very responsible,” O’Donohue said. “The officers on the street are very proactive, and they do a great job day in and day out. We also have a detective bureau that does an excellent job and is very quick to start investigations.”

In 2018, the department brought on six new officers, for a total of 79 sworn police officers. Since the initial public safety millage passed in 2012, the department hired 40 new police officers, nine new dispatchers and four new full-time civilian employees. In the last four years, the department also has seen almost a complete turnover in the command ranks.

In the report, O’Donohue wrote that the new officers and change in leadership has provided a sense of “energy and excitement” in the department, and in response to the loss of knowledge and experience, it has been focused on providing the “best training possible to ensure officers at every level are prepared for the responsibilities of their position.”

“We’ve hired a lot of young officers, and I think our road officers are the backbone of this Police Department,” he said. “Royal Oakers should feel very good about about the type of police patrolling their city.”

City Manager Don Johnson called the 2018 annual report “very much a good-news report, as the last several have been.”

Prior to the budget crises, Johnson said, the Police Department had approximately 110 sworn police officers. Despite being much smaller, he said the reduction in crime is a testament to members of the department.

“It has to do with a lot of things. One is better policing techniques, better training of the officers. The fact that we have an active downtown actually reduces serious crime,” Johnson said. “Overall, I’m very happy with the report and proud of the men and women of the Police Department.”

To view the full report, visit www.romi.gov/DocumentCenter/View/23317.

For more information, call the Royal Oak Police Department at (248) 246-3500.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.

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