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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • 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.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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