COVID reflected in decreases in crime report
By Lisa Brody
The Bloomfield Township Police Department annual report for 2020 was presented to the board of trustees at their meeting on Monday, May 10, which reflected the year of the pandemic, with 23,778 calls for service, about 10,000 calls less than in 2019, when there were 33,690 calls for service.
The department noted COVID-19 also impacted the number of traffic stops made, with a sharp decrease, as people stayed home, and “we do a lot of alarm calls – there weren't a lot of false alarms because everyone was home,” said chief Phil Langmeyer.
Criminal sexual conducts increased from five in 2019 to eight in 2020, but most other crimes decreased. There were 49 assaults, compared to 69 in 2019; 13 home invasions, while in 2019 there were 40. There were 98 larcenies, down from 130 in 2019, 50 retail frauds while there were 92 in 2019, and 43 larcenies from autos, versus 58 in 2019.
Frauds, including identity theft, remained about the same year-to-year, with 250 cases in 2020 and 257 cases in 2019. There was one robbery each year.
The department saw 50 drug violations in 2020, and only 35 in 2019, and 24 weapons violations versus 22 in 2019. There were seven incidents of embezzlement reported in 2020, compared to 12 in 2019.
What the department was involved with were a significant increase in health and safety violations.
“Never before have we had 200 calls for health and safety. There was a lot of confusion,” Langmeyer said.
In a contentious year for law enforcement, the department reported three incidents of use of force that were reported, “out of 23,778 calls. These are generated calls for service and do not include every day interaction with the public,” he said. “One was a Taser deployment; one was an incident where a firearm was pointed at a subject; and the last was a takedown that was utilized for subject control.”
With calls for service down, the department directed its attention to increased community involvement, from birthday and special occasion drive-bys, hospital solidarity laps, and a huge can drive for Special Olympics.