In fifth year, Middletown Police tout high case closure rate
- The department has had several milestones in the last year, including forming a S.W.A.T. team and getting a computer forensics lab up and running.
Halloween night marked the Middletown Police Department's five-year anniversary.
Chief Henry Tobin said that even though the number of calls for service is up since 2011, crime in Middletown has gone down.
The department has had several milestones in the last year, including forming a S.W.A.T. team and getting a computer forensics lab up and running.
The forensics lab opened in November 2011 and has assisted officers in solving fraud, sex crimes, and other criminal activities using technology, Tobin said.
"We have an above average clearance of arrests made in property crimes," he said.
Officers solved 15 business burglaries in March that occurred over a period of two months and closed all five bank robberies that occurred in town in 2012.
The rise in property crimes across town have coincided with the increase in drug arrests during the past year – mainly the spike in heroin cases.
In the department's first four years, Tobin said that the number of heroin arrests they made could be counted on one hand.
But in July 2012, the town, as well as the nation as a whole, began to see a rise in heroin related arrests.
In August, Middletown Police made six heroin-related arrests. So far this year, 16 arrests related to the dangerous opiate have been made.
In January, officers closed 23 graffiti cases where the kids spray painting businesses and walls around town ended up facing 68 charges total.
Other efforts are also being made to reduce crime around town.
Middletown Police are partnering with local landlords to enforce crime-free housing.
"Residents sign an agreement with their lease that there will be no drug activity in the residence," Tobin said. "If they're arrested on drug charges, the land lord can evict them."
Some property managers around town have already either agreed to or are in discussion with the police to enforce these rules designed to drive criminal activity out of Middletown.
"We're trying to target complexes with repeat drug calls and get the land lords on board to move the offenders out," Tobin said.
The department is also creating a heroin education program, he said, that will talk to communities and groups. It will be used as a preventative measure.
"It's not only Middletown, but there's a nation wide increase," Tobin said. "We're a reflection on everyone else, on a smaller scale."
He said that if the education program gets the word out of the seriousness of the drug by talking to youths, then it will prevent them from getting involved with it.
Another way officers reached out to local children this year was through its Summer Youth Academy.
About 20 boys participated in the program, which was funded through grants.
Tobin said that the summer program, which was meant to reach out to at-risk youths, was very successful.
Middletown Police have also taken part in the drug take back program for several years now.
This year, statistics show that calls for service are up and crime within town limits is down.
Many of these calls have been for quality of life issues or traffic violations, Tobin said. The number of traffic accidents in town has also increased since 2011.
Capt. Daniel Yeager said that the department is carrying on a program to help recover stolen bicycles.
Residents will be able to register their bicycles with the police department and if their bike is ever stolen and recovered, it will be easier to get the bike back.