On The Verge Of Tourist Season, Ocean City Police Prepare - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

On The Verge Of Tourist Season, Ocean City Police Prepare

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OCEAN CITY, Md. - Memorial Day weekend is upon us and hundreds of thousands of Marylanders are set to flock to the beach.

Ocean City is gearing up, especially police, who know that the increased population of tourist season means more crime.

Website Movoto ranked Ocean City the most dangerous town in Maryland in an online report in April.

The problem with that report is that it only took into account Ocean City's permanent population, about 7,000. During tourist season, it surges to almost 300,000, so it gave inflated statistics. In fact, crime in the town is down.

"Last year in 2013, we saw about a 13% decrease in crime, and at this point this year, we're about 5 months into 2014, we've already seen a 10% decrease from last year," says Lindsay O'Neal, spokeswoman for the Ocean City Police Department.

The town recently passed an emergency ordinance banning laser pointers and assisted-opening knives, something Chief Ross Buzzuro requested because the police force was spending too much time responding to those calls, and not more serious crimes.

However, this tourist season, as usual, police are focusing on drinking and driving. They've launched a specialized DUI Enforcement Initiative.

"We have a group of specialized officers who will be out solely focusing on detecting and enforcing against impaired driving," says O'Neal.

According to Milt Chaffee, the Maryland Representative for Highway Safety, DUI is responsible for 175 deaths, on average, each of the past five years.

But a strong police presence doesn't appeal to everyone.  "They get involved in things a little more than they should," says Chuck, from Baltimore.

"I think there's too many police officers here," adds Nicole, an Ocean City resident.

Even so, they both agree, that when it comes to DUI enforcement, more is better.

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