Shrewsbury Police activity has increased significantly this year when compared to the same time frame last year, according to police department statistics recently provided by borough Councilman Tom Menapace.
In 2012, police calls are up 19 percent, motor vehicle stops in the borough are up 58 percent, and summonses issued by borough police officers have increased a dramatic 65 percent overall when compared to the previous year’s stats. Though a reason for the increase in general police calls was not immediately known pending a more detailed analysis of the call data, the rise in motor vehicle stops and ticketing has been attributed to new technology and a youth movement in the department.
Shrewsbury police made 1,862 stops in 2011. That number has increased by more than 1,000 to 2,940 this year. It’s not necessarily that more drivers are committing infractions while traveling in and about Shrewsbury, but the increased stops have accelerated as new officers have joined the department’s ranks. In the past 18 months, Shrewsbury has sworn in four new police officers, including two from Long Branch and two from the academy. Menapace said he believes there’s a correlation between the rise in traffic stops and the department’s recent youthful trend.
The department has also found new leadership in the form of Chief Lou Ferraro. While Ferraro was only sworn in as the department’s chief this month, he’s served as the department’s acting chief for much of the year, waiting for former Chief John Wilson’s retirement to become official. Menapace said Ferraro has been very proactive in his stint as top cop thus far.
When it comes to handing out tickets – 2,050 in 2012 compared to 1,218 last year – Menapace said the addition of ALPRs, or automatic license plate readers, to squad cars has made it easier for police to nab drivers for infractions for many things, including driving a stolen car to driving a car with expired registration. In the past, officers would have to type in a car’s license plate number into an on-board computer to see if any violations came up from the state’s database, now that job is done automatically, with cameras reading license plates in 360 degrees around the squad car at all times.
“It has a lot to do with (the increase in summonses),” Menapace said. “They’re getting hits constantly.”