Athens Police Department Annual Report Shows Quieter City

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The numbers are in and it looks like the Athens Police Department has achieved one of its main goals for 2014.

The 2014 annual report released this week by the Athens Police Department details the improvement in noise complaints along with other arrest, citation and investigation data for the department over the past year.

 When asked what stood out to him as the key component in the 33-page report, Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle cited the noise complaints.

Noise complaints are at a 10-year low, dropping dramatically over the past four years. Pyle credited the reduction in the complaints from a high of 896 in 2010 to a low of 639 for 2014 as being due to enforcement and the switch to semesters.

According to the report, the department’s enforcement approach with nuisance parties and noise violations paid dividends with the spring fest season, with most fests ending peacefully by the time darkness set in.

In addition to the decrease in noise complaints, the department also saw a 10-year low in theft and vandalism calls in 2014.

Overall, the Athens Police Department had a total of 10,584 calls for service, down 1,100 from 2013.

Not all of the numbers saw a decline, with burglary-related arrests at a 10-year high of 27 arrests. Arrests related to noise and fighting were each at a 10-year low.

Parking enforcement issued a total of 23,266 tickets in 2014, an increase of approximately 1,500 from 2013. Those tickets and meter collections brought in a total of $894,548.48 for the city in 2014.

Pyle stated that all other numbers appeared to be standard with the fluctuation in crime.

The department also met several other goals which had been established for 2014 as well, according to the report, and has established a new set of goals for 2015.

The department completed the transfer to MARCS radio in 2014, as well as purchasing an replacement unmarked vehicle for the Criminal Investigative Unit. The department also set a goal of creating a pamphlet for residents to provide suggestions for neighborhood awareness which is now posted to the department’s website.

Goals for 2015 include obtaining two marked cruisers to replace aging vehicles, offering promotional exams for lieutenants, filling of vacant positions for police officers and parking enforcement data entry, increasing traffic stops, obtaining grant funding for a fall community barbecue and providing department-wide training in the area of sexual assault investigations among others.

While some goals were met the department fell short on reaching others. The increased traffic stop goal was not meet for the year, with traffic stops down approximately 600 for the year. The staffing goal was also not met, with two vacant positions remaining.

Some 2014 goals remain in progress, including community initiatives which is an ongoing goal. The community barbecue held in September was one step toward that goal.

Some of the significant events for 2014 highlighted in the report are a joint DUI checkpoint conducted with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ohio University Police Department and continued community outreach efforts including T.A.G. (Targeting Area Graffiti) and Shop with a Cop.

The most significant event noted was the consistent staffing shortage for the latter part of the year which has impacted coverage.

The department has continued with meeting every other month with local school representatives, council members, and law enforcement partners to discuss school safety and training.