by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR
Aurora -- Adult arrests and traffic citations increased in 2012, but traffic accidents were down, according to figures released recently by the city's police department.
Arrests totaled 392 in 2012, compared to 303 in 2011, while traffic citations were up from 803 to 1,345 (speeding led all citation categories at 289).
Police Chief Seth Riewaldt said possible reasons why arrests were up were because more thefts are occurring because of the economy and "drugs are becoming a serious problem."
He noted heroin use has increased because it is becoming cheaper to obtain, and many times people take to stealing items to pawn off for drug money.
As for the increase in traffic citations, he said the department hasn't adopted a policy of stricter enforcement. Citations are left up to individual officers. He said he generally expects citations to be issued in crashes, but accidents were down in 2012.
Traffic stops also increased from 2,620 to 5,591. Officers investigated 206 accidents, compared to 282 in 2011, but only eight involved injuries. There were no traffic fatalities, compared to two in 2011.
Residents reported 237 thefts, compared to 193 in 2011. Burglaries (25 from 22), disorderly conduct incidents (214 from 192), fraud (63 from 49) and vandalism/criminal mischief (107 from 86) were up, motor vehicle thefts (three) and domestic violence (70) were the same and assaults were down (22 from 29).
Accidents on private property (109 from 125) and vehicle-deer accidents (seven from 23).
Adult arrests for thefts (39 from 26), burglaries (six from three), drugs (30 from 11) and receiving stolen property (30 from 29) were up, while arrests for assaults (16 to three) were down.
As for juveniles, traffic citations were up from 27 to 39, but unruliness was down from 52 to 43. Total juvenile cases handled by the Portage County Juvenile Court from Aurora were up from 79 to 82.
The annual report said total reports taken by officers dropped from 11,186 to 7,474, while total calls handled by officers increased from 8,399 to 17,299 and total activities handled by dispatchers increased from 17,186 to 24,197.
Police personnel drove city vehicles 248,043 miles in 2012, compared to 195,176 miles in 2011.
Fine money from traffic and drug cases returned to Aurora decreased from $32,227 to $21,048, while money taken in by dispatchers for various reasons rose from $33,103 to $47,805.
The report said 109 deer hunting permits were issued, and 17 deer were killed by hunters.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY INFO
Police Chief Seth Riewaldt reported some highlights for the department in 2012 were that canine officer Sayro was retired at the end of the year, the city began the long-awaited renovation of its safety communications center and Officer Michelle Ice continued to work as the schools resource officer "and her performance within the schools has been nothing less than stellar."
Officers fingerprinted about 215 children, were involved with 168 participants in Safety Town (which celebrated its 40th year) and gave out about 1,500 neon safety light sticks to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
Officers again participated in the None for Under 21 program, which was attended by hundreds of seniors from Portage County and surrounding schools.
The department participated in the Child Advocacy Center's pinwheels project, joined with Bainbridge police, Bainbridge Walmart and the Aurora schools for the Shop With A Cop program and participated in the Metro SWAT unit in Portage and Summit counties.
Officers participated in several other community activities such as education and safety presentations, bike rodeo, Aurora Business Showcase, the "What's Holding You Back" seat belt and drinking / driving awareness campaigns, a crime scene investigator camp for Girl Scouts, July 4 festivities, Family Truck Day at Aurora Farms Premium Outlets and a pizza-eating contest against Harmon School students.
The department also worked to incorporate Ohio's new requirements for pistol, shotgun and carbine use into its training regiment.
Of the full-time police officers, Riewaldt (33 1/2), Dirk Piggott (27 1/2) and Don Johnson (26) have been employed the longest. Five others have more than 20 years of tenure. Dispatcher Becky Ballou has been on the job for 31 1/2 years.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189