Friday, October 31, 2014

Newbury Crime Rate Steady Despite Defunct PD
January 30, 2014 by Diane Ryder | No Comments

"In light of what's been happening in the county this week, it shows that we live in a very safe community." – Glen Quigley

When a previous Newbury Township Trustees board decided several years ago to do away with the township’s police department to save money, they met with some criticism from residents who warned them it would result in an increase in crime in the rural community.

Since the change, future boards have kept a close eye on crime figures in the community by monitoring the Geauga County Sheriff’s report listing the number of calls it receives from Newbury residents.

Because of the way the department reports the calls, trustees have been unable to determine any specific details about the types of calls received.

All they know is the number of calls did not increase significantly, with an average of 200 to 220 calls per month, said Trustee Bill Skomrock, who serves as liaison with the sheriff’s department.

Trustees, long frustrated with the lack of details provided by the monthly report, worked to put together a spread sheet outlining the types of calls received, by going over the more detailed, countywide sheriff’s report for the last six months.

Skomrock released the three-page report last Thursday, which listed the 911 calls from Newbury residents from June through December of 2013 by five categories: fire, traffic, court, people and public assistance.

“There were 1,522 911 calls that went through their dispatch system,” Skomrock reported. “Twenty-two percent were fire/rescue, 27 percent traffic, 31.3 percent people-related and 17 (percent) public assistance.”

Trustee Glen Quigley, who worked on the spreadsheet, said that “public assistance” were calls involving non-criminal events such as lockouts and welfare checks.

“The ‘people’ incidents were those that took place against people,” Quigley explained.

Out of the 479 “people” calls, 160 were about suspicious activity, he said.

In an apparent reference to recent violent crime reported in nearby townships, Quigley said, “In light of what’s been happening in the county this week, it shows that we live in a very safe community.”

He attributed the low number of crime calls to the number of law enforcement vehicles that routinely drive through Newbury on their way back and forth to Chardon.

“The sheriff’s department, Ohio (State) Highway Patrol, and police cars from Bainbridge and Russell are always driving through,” Quigley explained. “They’re all different jurisdictions, but they provide visibility and it’s impressive that they’re such a visible presence when they are on our roads.”

Quigley said all three trustees contributed to the project, which took several weeks to compile.

“It’s the same process we used when we made the study about getting rid of the police department,” said Quigley, who served as trustee when that decision to disband the part-time department had been made.

Trustees at the time estimated the move would save the township about $100,000 annually.

“We took five years’ worth of statistics for that,” he added.

Skomrock said the call numbers have stayed virtually the same since the department was disbanded.

In other business, trustees rejected a purchase offer for Grange Park, which the board has been trying to sell for more than a year to raise money to maintain the newer Oberland Park.

After a five-minute executive session, Quigley announced the township had received an offer and moved to accept it.

The motion died for lack of a second. Trustees did not give any details, but said the offer was unacceptable.

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