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Chief: Village crime 'still well in hand'



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January 12, 2011 - Criminal activity in Oxford Village experienced its ups and downs in 2010, but overall, Police Chief Mike Neymanowski is quite pleased with the numbers.

"All in all things look pretty good," he said. "I'm happy with what's going on. I think things are still well in hand."

In comparing the 2009 and 2010 village crime statistics, larceny violations increased from 35 to 51, motor vehicle thefts doubled from one to two, and burglaries rose from seven to 12.

Neymanowski believes these areas increased due to the troubled economy and high unemployment.

"It's a sign of the times," he said.

Also on the rise were juvenile offenses and complaints, which jumped from 124 to 165 incidents. A lot of these, according to the chief, were "status offenses" such as "skateboarding on private property," the chief said.

However, there were some trends in juvenile offenses that should be of great concern to parents and the community.

"I think I've seen more crimes (involving) underage drinking," Neymanowski said. "I think that's on the rise, unfortunately, in our community."

Two areas of crime experienced decreases last year. Property damage dropped from 26 to 16 incidents, while the number of fraud cases declined from eight to four.

Three types of criminal activity held steady from 2009 to 2010. They included forcible sexual offenses (2), assaults (25) and drug/narcotic violations (15).

Despite the increases in some areas, the chief noted 2010's numbers are "still below" what they were in 2008 when there were 40 assaults, 61 larcenies, 43 cases of property damage and 187 juvenile offenses.

Given the "substantial" decrease in the 2009 village crime rate, last year's increases weren't a surprise to the chief.

"2009 was a freaky year. Overall, everything dropped," Neymanowski said. "So, I knew we had to have some rises this year."

Neymanowski indicated he continues to get "very positive feedback" from the community regarding the village department's performance in the field.

"My officers certainly always take the extra step, from something as small as a barking dog up to an assault," he said. "We follow-up and make sure people are getting the service they pay for."

Neymanowski believes his officers help deter crime because they're always on the street. Last year, village officers drove 57,283 miles patrolling the 1.4-square-mile community. In 2009, they put 57,343 miles on the road.

"We're consistent with that and I think that's the key to keeping things in check – visibility," he said. "I think that's why our numbers (stay) low."

In addition to patrol cars roaming the streets, the village PD increased its two-wheeled presence in the community.

"In the last year or so, we've beefed up our bike patrol, which makes us more visible out there," he said.

As always, the chief noted citizens can help police keep the community safe by being an extra set of "eyes and ears out there."

"We can't be everywhere all the time," he said. "Citizens (should) feel free to call us if they think something doesn't look right."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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