Birmingham crime stats showed dip in 2021
By Kevin Elliott
Overall crime in Birmingham dropped by 16 percent from 2020 to 2021, with parking violations being the hottest ticket in town, according to the Birmingham Police Department’s 2021 Annual Crime Report.
Birmingham Police Chief Mark Clemence said the city had a 16 percent decrease in total crimes from 2020 to 2021. However, Clemence noted that crime statistics for 2020 were skewed by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to an artificially lowering of statistics that year. Still, he said 2021 was still 1.5-percent below the three-year average of criminal offenses.
“While any crime is unacceptable to the police department, the citizens of Birmingham should be very proud of a crime rate that has been consistently low over the course of the past several years,” Clemence said.
The police department responded to 20,022 calls for service in 2021, down about five percent from the previous year. Calls included 356 violent crimes and crimes against property, leading to 49 arrests; 126 calls related to operating under the influence and non-violent crimes, leading to 77 arrests; and 19,569 calls related to traffic offenses, arrest warrants and general patrol activity, leading to 71 arrests.
The police department recorded 47 vandalism incidents; 98 thefts; 44 DUI; 72 fraud (including retail fraud/shoplifting); 18 vehicle thefts; and eight burglaries.
The greatest department activity in 2021 came by way of parking violations, with the department recording 35,825 violations, up more than 27 percent from 2020, with 28,052 violations. Parking violations in 2019 totaled 45,691.
In addition to a dip in crime, Clemence pointed out some of the department’s highlights in 2021, including the accreditation of the department by the Michigan Association of Police Chiefs – a two-year process attained by less than six percent of agencies in the state.
The department also made significant considerations for serving the public in 2021, particularly those that may be suffering a mental health crisis when interacting with police. With the help of a $75,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, the department launched a co-response program that contracts with a social worker to assist officers on calls that may need help outside the black-and-white rules of law. The program includes the Bloomfield Township and Auburn Hills police departments, as well as the Oakland County Health Network.
“In addition to the co-response, our social worker also follows-up on cases that have a mental health component, connecting individuals and families with available resources and services to assist with their mental health needs,” Clemence said.
Additionally, he said 20 percent of the department’s 33 sworn officers have had at least 40 hours of advanced crisis intervention training.
“Crisis intervention training is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and addiction professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, their families and other advocates,” Clemence said. “It is an innovative first responder model of police-based crisis intervention training to help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions access medical treatment, rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness related behaviors. It also promotes officer safety of the individual in crisis. The police department is committed to training 20 percent of the department each year until all officers have received the advanced CIT training.”