Martinsburg Safer: MPD Annual Report Shows Continued Crime Reduction

  • Martinsburg Safer: MPD Annual Report Shows Continued Crime Reduction

    Martinsburg Safer: MPD Annual Report Shows Continued Crime Reduction

    The Martinsburg Police Department has released its 2018 Annual Report, announcing a continued significant decrease in major crime during the past year. For the third consecutive year, burglaries and robberies decreased, both down 10% from 2017. In 2018 there were 166 total burglaries in Martinsburg compared to 185 during 2017. Robberies saw a reduction to 18 last year from 20 in 2017. These reductions are the latest in a dramatic decline in serious crime during the past three years. Since 2015, burglaries in Martinsburg have been reduced by 51% and robberies have plummeted by 55%.

    Other categories of reported crime also reveal a steady reduction as compared to 2017. In 2018 Sexual Assaults and Abuse declined 7%, total crimes involving weapons dropped 35%, assaults and batteries were down 7%, and shoplifting declined by 13%. There were zero homicides in Martinsburg during 2018.

    In presenting the dramatic crime reduction results, Chief Maury Richards stated, “The men and women of the Martinsburg Police Department are second to none. The numbers speak for themselves. We have been on a mission to knock down and prevent crime. Our community-policing partnerships are making every neighborhood in our City a safer place to live and a better place to raise families.”

    MPD calls-for-service during 2018 totaled 32,157. Enforcement activity included 2,192 Adult Arrests resulting in 3,349 criminal charges. The MPD report also noted that since its inception in 2016, Martinsburg’s innovative “Drug House Ordinance” has been utilized to shut down 42 drug houses. This has made lasting improvements—reducing repeat calls-for-service at these locations by 90% and improving the quality of life for Martinsburg families.

    Deputy Chief George Swartwood said that, “These impressive results are the product of the hard work, professionalism, and dedication of the outstanding men and women of MPD. I couldn’t be prouder of our entire Department.”

    Other 2018 MPD Annual Report highlights include: the hiring of five new police officers; the creation of MPD’s first Honor Guard; cutting-edge policing operations and training such as the updated and revised Active Shooter Policy; the new state-of-the-art Police and Municipal Court Building projected to be completed in December, 2019; and last May’s overwhelming support of Martinsburg residents to renew the City’s Police Levy with a 75% “yes” vote—providing necessary funding to maintain nine current MPD officers.

    The Martinsburg Police Department has been nationally recognized for its role in building The Martinsburg Initiative (TMI), the ground-breaking program developed as a national model for opioid prevention. TMI is an innovative partnership spearheaded by MPD, the Berkeley County Schools, Shepherd University, the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA program, and Martinsburg community organizations.

    TMI has expanded to Martinsburg’s eight elementary and intermediate schools and is unique to the entire United States. Last year, through MPD’s “Adopt a Classroom” program, officers made positive contact and interaction with 4,000 Martinsburg elementary and intermediate school students during 100 classroom visits.

    MPD also continues the Handle With Care program. Handle With Care provides Martinsburg schools with a “heads up” when a child has been identified at the scene of a traumatic event. MPD officers are trained to identify children at the scene of a call-for-service, find out where they go to school, and send the school a confidential email to alert the administration that the police have been to the home. MPD patrol officers made 78 notifications in 2018 and 171 since beginning the program in 2016, protecting school children who have experienced traumatic events.

    Richards and Swartwood attribute the latest success to MPD’s comprehensive community policing strategy that has combined: focused enforcement; better follow-up investigations; teamwork; positive police-community engagement through bike patrol, foot patrol, and problem-solving; improved officer training; utilizing technology, and new police-community partnerships. During 2018, MPD Patrol Officers (in addition to the Downtown Unit) conducted 2,400 hours of foot and bicycle patrol, engaging with residents and preventing crime.

    The 2018 Annual Report can be viewed on our resources page.