AURORA – Incidents of fraud/identity theft increased significantly in 2021, but most other categories of crime declined or remained the same, according to Police Chief Brian Byard’s annual report.
The police department has 56 full-time and part-time employees, including administrators, detectives, patrol officers, dispatchers, and K9 Officer Nero.
The department investigated 157 fraud/identity theft complaints, down from 64 in 2020 and 51 in 2019, while thefts of personal property increased slightly to 111 from 103 in 2020, but down from 140 in 2019 .
Officers filed 1,166 reports, compared to 1,124 in 2020 and 1,216 in 2019. Part I offenses – the most serious – numbered 127, compared to 116 in 2020. In addition to thefts, other crimes in the Part I reported were: assaults, four; burglaries, five; and motor vehicle theft, Sept.
Detective Bureau supervisor Dan Kalk said the vehicle thefts were seven compared to three in 2020 and two in 2019.
“Detectives helped recover many stolen cars and investigations led to at least three people being charged with motor vehicle theft,” he said. “Often stolen vehicles are used to commit more serious crimes against the public.”
There were no murders, rapes, robberies or arson. Byard said there have been only three murders in the past 23 years and no rapes in the past 12 years.
Other reported incidents include: vandalism/criminal mischief, four; other sexual offences, nine; drug addiction, five; drug overdoses, three; domestic disputes, 54; physical domestic incidents, 18; disorderly conduct, 18; suicide attempts or threats, three; and missing persons/fugitives, five.
Officers handled 183 accidents – there were no fatalities – wrote 56 accident reports on private property, issued 1,291 tickets – including 602 for speeding – and responded to 17,744 calls.
Adult arrests in 2021 totaled 189, compared to 172 in 2020 and 322 in 2019, while juvenile arrests/citations totaled 54 – 50 trafficking citations and four indiscipline charges – with 53 cases returned to court for Portage County miners.
The city collected $68,656 in fines from court proceedings, including $52,677 from traffic and criminal cases, $13,304 from drug cases, $2,302 from confiscated money and $373 from drunk driving.
Dispatchers received $17,180 in court bonds and waivers and $581 in fees for city permits, parking tickets, copies of reports, and more.
Detectives investigated an interstate wire fraud case in which a local business reported that funds were missing from its accounts. They traced the missing money to Oregon, located a suspect, and obtained a confession.
They also managed to recover over $40,000 in stolen jewelry. “Time and time again, we investigate housekeepers who are responsible for stealing expensive jewelry from the homes they clean,” Kalk said.
After receiving reports that a man wanted for a Missouri parole violation was in Aurora, local investigators teamed up with the US Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force to locate, arrest and return him to the Missouri.
“Seniors continue to be hit extremely hard by internet scams, resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars last year,” Kalk said.
“Each year the Chief and Detective Bureau make presentations to civic groups, nursing homes, religious groups and charities to warn and educate the public about the latest schemes and scams.”
Three families and eight children participated in the 13th annual Shop With A Cop event. After shopping at Walmart, families were invited to the police station, where they enjoyed food, games, goodie bags and crafts.
The department has also participated in events such as Safety Town, Pinwheels for Prevention, AAA’s Helmet Smart, Child ID and Fingerprinting, Portage County Safe Communities and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Rotary Club Golf Outing, Fishing with a Cop, bike rodeo, National Night/Truck and Tractor event, drug take-back program, and officer training with Twinsburg and Hudson departments.
In January 2021, the department dissolved its dispatch contracts with Hiram Police and Fire, Community EMS, and Garrettsville fire to focus solely on dispatch services in Aurora.
The new officers hired were Carl Schwarting and Brandon Bridgewater, who came from the Akron Police Department and the Portage County Sheriff’s Department, respectively. Bryan Kroll was promoted from patrolman to sergeant.
“While 2021 has proven to be another challenging year, I want to thank the community members, department employees, Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin and members of Council who continue to be so supportive.” , said Byard.