Serious crimes like rapes and aggravated assaults declined nearly 9 percent in Gaithersburg in 2016, according to the Gaithersburg Police Department.
In its 2016 annual report, the department noted that serious or “Part I” crimes went down by 8.9 percent in 2016, from 1,777 in 2015 to 1,619 last year.
“Through the efforts of both our sworn and civilian staff, we are able to fulfill many public safety needs in a growing community,” Gaithersburg Chief of Police Mark P. Sroka wrote in the report. “Through the efforts of each member of the Gaithersburg Police Department, working in conjunction with the residents of our community, the city is a safer place.”
Several specific categories of crimes registered decreases last year. The most significant declines came in aggravated assaults, which fell from 102 in 2015 to 63 in 2016, and burglaries, which went from 163 in 2015 to 119 in 2016.
Residential burglaries decreased 27.3 percent, from 121 in 2015 to 88 in 2016. Commercial burglaries decreased 26.8 percent, from 41 in 2015 to 30 in 2016.
In addition, rapes and robberies saw more modest decreases, with the former falling from 23 in 2015 to 21 in 2016, and robberies going from 53 to 51. In the case of the rape cases, of the 21 reported incidents in 2016, 19 were by known suspects, according to the report. Larcenies decreased 5.5 percent, from 1,367 in 2015 to 1,292 in 2016.
Two major crime categories did increase slightly from 2015 to 2016. Homicides increased from one to two, and auto thefts went up from 68 in 2015 to 71 in 2016.
GPD officers and staff also completed a variety of training activities during the course of the year. The scenarios for which officers trained included “threats to the faith community” and “gang awareness.” Investigators trained in interview techniques and criminal investigations using public social media, among other topics.
The report also noted various award recipients within the department.
Sergeant Raymond K. Campbell was named supervisor of the year. “In 2016, Sergeant Campbell performed his supervisory and administrative duties in an exemplary manner and displayed compassion and courtesy in addressing the concerns of residents,” the report stated. “Sergeant Campbell has good communication skills and often responded to calls for service involving hostile individuals. He managed to de-escalate the situations, resulting in peaceful resolution.”
Michelle Kirk was named officer of the year. “Officer Michelle Kirk’s high quality and volume of work set her apart from her peers. She always reported to work with a positive attitude and demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the mission of the Police Department,” the report stated.
Detective Robert Scire was also named as an officer of the year. “Throughout the year, Detective Scire demonstrated the ability and willingness to do whatever is asked or required of him to bring criminal cases to a successful resolution,” the report stated.