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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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