With pandemic, Grosse Pointe City sees substantial drop in crime in 2020

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 11, 2021

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GROSSE POINTE CITY — Students and workers weren’t the only ones who spent a lot more time than usual at home in 2020. Criminals also apparently weren’t as active after COVID-19 hit Michigan in March 2020.

As was true for many other municipalities, crime dropped last year in Grosse Pointe City, according to results from the recently released 2020 annual public safety report.

“Criminals … don’t like rain, they don’t like snow, and they don’t like germs,” Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Director John Alcorn quipped.

Throughout the Grosse Pointes, crime fell by 16% in 2020 from 2019 numbers, according to data from Michigan Incident Crime Reporting. The drop was even more dramatic in the City.

“Grosse Pointe City’s overall crime rate decreased 33%,” City Manager Pete Dame said.

Part I crimes — also known as index crimes — are considered more serious offenses, and they fell from 84 incidents in 2019 to 48 in 2020. Larceny, the most common Part I crime, dropped from 62 incidents in 2019 to 39 in 2020. Motor vehicle thefts fell by more than half, dropping from nine in 2019 to four in 2020. Burglaries and home invasions decreased substantially as well, from eight incidents in 2019 to one in 2020.

“It seems to be more a trend for COVID than the job we did,” Alcorn said of the large declines in many crime categories.

Part II crimes — considered less serious offenses — fell as well, albeit by a smaller margin, dropping to 104 incidents in 2020 as opposed to 118 in 2019.

The benefit of having fewer crime runs was that it gave the department more time to train on its new fire engine, Alcorn said.

Alcorn thanked the mayor and City Council during a meeting March 15 by Zoom for their support.

“2020 was a trying year, and we got through it together, as a team,” he said.

Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak also thanked Alcorn for delivering an “excellent report.”

Alcorn was likewise happy with the low crime figures.

“We’re very pleased with those numbers,” Alcorn said.

The City wasn’t able to present awards to its public safety officers during an in-person ceremony as it has in the past, but it did acknowledge a number of department members for going above and beyond the call of duty last year.

Lt. Thomas Martindale was named Officer of the Year.

Recipients of Mothers Against Drunk Driving awards were officer Dean Turk and Sgt. Christopher Saunders.

Martindale and Turk were given department citations.

Receiving community service awards were Alcorn, Turk, Martindale, Saunders, Sgt. Joe Adams, officer Jacob Carpenter, officer Robert Saleski, Sgt. Chris Cotzias and officer Andrew Prueter.

Recipients of a chief’s letter were Alcorn, Adams, Martindale, Saunders, Prueter, Lt. Alan Gwyn, Sgt. Michael Almeranti, officer Matthew Wallis, Saleski, Sgt. Michael Herrgott, Turk, officer Jacob Gentile, officer Kenneth Ayres, officer Jacob Ina, Sgt. Joseph Srebernak, officer Mark Yanis and officer Lucas Rucinski. Rucinski and Gentile joined the department in August 2020. Carpenter and Sgt. Justin Strohmeyer each received two chief’s letters.