Serious crime hits record lows in Farmington

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The City of Farmington saw ”record-setting crime lows” in 2018, Public Safety Director Frank Demers told officials last week.

“We have never seen lows like this low before,” Demers said, noting the total of 263 “Part A”, or serious crimes, is lower than any year since the city started tracking crime rates in the early 1970s. “It’s truly a remarkable achievement for the community.”

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The city had just one home invasion and one commercial burglary in 2018 and overall declines in burglary and larceny of 81 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Demers largely attributed those numbers to neighbors looking out for each other.

“People have a vested interest in the safety and security of their homes, that plays a very big role in it. Criminals come to this town, and they know people are watching,” he said.

Demers acknowledged that the 2019 report will look a little different. The year started with break-ins at several downtown businesses.

Narcotics crimes

The 2019 report will also look different when it comes to narcotics-related crimes, because of Michigan’s new recreational marijuana laws.

Demers said officers made 130 narcotics arrests for possession of heroin (3), crack/cocaine (5), synthetic drugs (5), amphetamines (2), LSD (2), and drug paraphernalia (46). But possession of marijuana accounted for about half of all drug arrests.

“With legalization now, that’s off the table,” Demers said. “So you can expect to see a considerable decrease in narcotics arrests.”

Dangerous intersections

The department’s Patrol Division handled more than 6,000 calls last year, and issued 3,474 citations, excluding parking tickets. Of the 731 adults arrested, 75 faced charges of driving under the influence.

Officers responded last year to 251 property damage and 26 personal injury vehicle accidents, with most happening at Nine Mile and Grand River, and Shiawassee and Grand River, and – at the top of the list – Nine Mile and Farmington Roads.

“That continues to be one of the most dangerous intersections in the city,” Demers said.

Last year, that dubious honor went to M-5 and Nine Mile, which was 13th on this year’s list. Orchard Lake Road and Grand River saw 17 accidents last year, and “didn’t even make the list this year.”

While impaired driving arrests dropped a bit in 2018, Demers expects to see an increase now that officers are trained in ARIDE, a roadside evaluation that identifies drivers impaired by alcohol and drugs. He said the training is identifying more motorists under the influence of marijuana.

The city’s parking enforcement officer issued 189 violations, split about evenly between lots north and south of Grand River. The vast majority were time violations; only 23 were cited for re-parking (moving vehicles between spaces to dodge the 3-hour limit).

Despite tougher penalties, 108 tickets went to repeat offenders, Demers said.

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