Morenci annual police report 2.20

Written by David Green.

There’s something suspicious going on in Morenci. Or, on the other hand, are citizens just a little more wary of what they see?

Investigations of suspicious situations increased by 14 percent last year, according to the Morenci Police Department year-end statistics.

That’s one of a few categories that showed a significant increase compared to 2006, although the 78 incidents last year are only two more than the average from the past five.

Assaults dropped by 15 percent to 28, but that’s about the average from recent years. Larceny from automobiles also showed a big drop, but they seem to go in cycles. After the perpetrators of a series of thefts are caught, the number typically drops down to last year’s number—six.

The number of larcenies in general reached a five-year high at 40, seven above the average. Bad check writing also reached a high of 25, well above the average of 15.

Several of those checks were written by the same person, and that activity often points to a tough economy, Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks told city council members last month.

The number of hit-and-run accidents stood at five, twice as many as average. The number of driving violations dipped to 22, down from 33 the prior year and below the five-year average of 28. Property damage accidents also declined.

Before 2007, police spent time responding to an average of 29 false alarm activations a year. Last year the number jumped to 54. The increase was due to a change in security procedures at the school, Weeks said, and that required an adjustment period.

General non-criminal incidents—loose dogs, junk cars, bicycle registrations, etc.—were averaging 51 a year, but increased to 74 in 2006. Last year, it jumped to 95. Weeks described this category as a catch-all for everything that doesn’t fit into another classification.

Weeks responded again about a claim that a resident once made regarding a television report stating Morenci had the highest crime rate in Lenawee County. Weeks said he contacted the news editor of the station and was told that no such figure was ever broadcast.

“It’s certainly a safe community to live in,” Weeks said.

What didn’t happen

Crime figures in Morenci vary little from year to year, always tending toward the light side, and perhaps it’s more revealing to take a look at what didn’t happen last year.

There were no reports of murders, kidnappings, arson or extortion, embezzlement, illegal gambling, prostitution, bribery, accidental shootings or drug overdoses.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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