Police department changes result in drastic drop in crime statistics
FEDERALSBURG, Md. – Police Chief Mike McDermott has been hard at work reforming the Federalsburg Police Department since taking over seven months ago. And the results speak for themselves.
The department has seen a 43-percent drop in crime in the first six months of 2019 compared to the same time frame in 2018. That includes dramatic drops in thefts, from 38 to 16, and malicious destruction of property, from 24 in 2018 to six in 2019.
The most noticeable change for the department has been the amount of patrolling taking place. According to the department’s numbers, 200 patrol checks were done in the first six months of 2018, compared with 1,900 so far this year.
Residents we spoke with tell us they have noticed the increased patrolling.
“More police presence. They’re walking the beat now, keeping people off the street, hanging around stores, that’s the main thing I figure,” said Federalsburg resident Vincent Smallwood. “Really peaceful, I can leave my door open at 9 o’clock at night, ain’t got to have it locked up. That means a lot to me.”
The makeup of those officers who are patrolling the streets of Federalsburg have changed, as well.
According to Chief McDermott, additional investment from the town and more competitive salaries has led to a seasoned staff, with nine full-time officers, all with 15 or more years of experience.
“The town has valued the experience officer that wants to come here. That’s enabled me to build a better team.”
Among other changes, Federalsburg had a surveillance system in place, but McDermott says it was not in operation.
Since then, the 36 cameras have been brought back online, enhanced, and some have been moved around to keep an eye on some of the department’s problem areas.
Maybe one of the more simple steps the department took was to establish a social media presence.
Creating a Facebook page with segments like Wanted Wednesday and Facebook Friday, another way to connect the town’s department with its citizens.
“We get private messages from people saying hey I saw this guy at Food Lion. They help us,” said McDermott. “The people of Federalsburg have taken ownership of their own town.”
The 37-year police veteran has mentioned that the department has put in for a grant with the department of homeland security for a drone that would be used to patrol certain areas of the town.