Crime rate increases, citizen complaints level in Menlo Park during 2017

by Contributed Content on February 24, 2018

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For the fifth year, the Menlo Park Police Department released its annual crime statistics and citizen complaint data.

The 2017 crime statistics show an increase in reported violent crime (homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault); 54 incidents in 2017 over 30 reported in 2016.

According to the department, this increase can be partially attributed to multiple crime events committed by one suspect. An example of this is the three armed robberies at local drugstores over a three-day period in late October committed by the same suspect. Additionally, there were multiple incidents that took place prior to 2017 that were reported to the Police Department in the 2017 calendar year.

Property crimes (burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson) were also up, rising four percent in comparison to 2016. Clearance rates for violent crimes (the percentage of crimes that are solved) increased from 66% in 2016 to 72% in 2017.

Menlo Park Police Department received 26 citizen complaints out of 40,239 officer contacts. This is the same number of complaints that were filed in 2016, although that year saw fewer officer contacts, 38,032.

The number one complaint filed in 2017 was for discourtesy (8 complaints). Out of the 26 citizen complaints filed:
– Two were sustained,
– One was exonerated,
– Four are pending,
– Two concluded with no finding,
– Ten were unfounded,
– Six were frivolous, and
– One was withdrawn.

All Menlo Park police employees working in the community have been wearing body cameras since 2014 in an effort to strengthen officers’ performance and accountability, enhance department transparency, document encounters with the public, and investigate and resolve complaints and officer-involved incidents.

The use of body cameras has allowed supervisors to review incidents mentioned by complainants immediately. This review allows for an examination of a situation as it happened based upon the facts, as opposed to recollection.

In 2017, the Police Department responded to over 22,000 calls for service, conducted over 9,000 traffic stops, wrote more than 4,000 reports and arrested nearly 1,300 individuals. The calls for service do not reflect the frequent number of walk-ins to the police lobby and phone calls where professional staff, including administration, records and parking, provides services directly (i.e., police report copies, vehicle releases, parking enforcement/permits, media inquiries, property/evidence, etc.).

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