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.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • 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).
  • 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.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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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