By Alyssa Schnugg
Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen presented the annual report for the Oxford Police Department to the Board of Aldermen Tuesday, showcasing highlights and data acquired throughout the year.
COVID-19 helped to keep some crime down, with fewer people on the streets and in bars; however, it also has been attributed to a rise in domestic violence cases as families were at home under tense situations.
In 2020, OPD performed 3,737 business checks, responded to 143 mental health calls, made 269 felony arrests, spent 6,846 hours in training and conducted 635 foot patrols and 1,431 follow-up calls.
The department received 50,608 calls and officers filed 14,711 case reports. OPD investigated one murder and 29 cases of sexual assault in 2020.
OPD officers investigated 181 vehicle burglaries, 73 residential/commercial burglaries and 16 robberies or armed robberies. Of those, investigators arrested 145 people for vehicle burglary, 33 people for residential/commercial burglary, and 17 people for robbery or armed robbery.
In 2019, the arrest rate was 52% for auto burglaries and 36% for residential/commercial burglaries. In 2020, Criminal Investigations increased arrest rates to 80% for auto burglary and 45% for residential/commercial burglary. The Criminal Investigations Unit has a 62% closure rate for their caseload in 2020.
“That was due to every staff member and detectives working together,” McCutchen said.
DUIs and other alcohol-related offenses dropped significantly in 2020.
In 2019, there were 588 DUI offenses and 509 other alcohol-related violations. In 2020, there were 468 DUI violations and 276 other alcohol-related offenses.
Drug-related arrests also dipped in 2020.
In 2019, there were 572 arrests for drug charges. In 2020, there were 454.
However, domestic violence charges almost doubled in 2020.
In 2019, there were 98 arrests for misdemeanor domestic violence. That number climbed in 2020 to 145 arrests.
Felony domestic violence, where a weapon was used or strangulation occurred, resulted in nine arrests which are one more than in 2019.
Other than responding to calls and investigating crimes, OPD engaged with the community through several projects and programs including mentoring programs for boys and girls, bingo with the city’s elderly population, hosting blood drives, de-escalating training for Square workers, made 300 masks for citizens, taught active shooter training for citizens and delivered backpacks to the Boys and Girls Club.
OPD was also instrumental in forming the city’s first Committee for Police Transparency in 2020 and now also has a victim’s advocate in the department who follows up with victims of domestic violence to ensure their needs are met with available community resources.
“We were able to do a lot of good things in a very unique year,” McCutchen said.