Farmington crime rates plummet during pandemic

While Farmington Public Safety saw historically low crime rates in 2019, the department set a new bar last year.

Director Ted Warthman’s 2020 annual report, presented to city council members Monday, showed double digit declines across the board, from calls for service to the number of arrests.

Warthman called the 45 percent drop in serious crimes “astounding”.

“Last year, (retired director) Frank (Demers) came to council to report a historic low of 206, and I’m here reporting 109, which is unbelievable,” he said.

The department investigated just three burglaries, all at local businesses.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a year when we didn’t have any residential (burglaries),” Warthman said. “I think a lot of that was that people were home all the time, and it’s hard to break in when people are home.”

In the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, March through May, the number of medical runs jumped by 22 percent. Runs dropped to lower than normal levels in June and stayed that way for the rest of the year.

Warthman attributed a decline in traffic tickets to less aggressive enforcement. “We were trying to keep the public safe and our officers,” he said.

Council member Maria Taylor asked whether the department would set up a transparency dashboard that shares information about arrests, citations, and other activity with demographic breakdowns.

Warthman said Oakland County created a fund for the program, and the department is working with a vendor to set it up. It should be available on the department’s website in late summer.

Public Safety is also working this year on re-accreditation with the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Warthman said.

Read the full report in the April 19 city council meeting packet.

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