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.