Southeastern PA

Quakertown police chief summarizes crime trends

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. - Members of Quakertown Borough Council were presented with a brief report on crime trends in the borough Wednesday night. Police Chief Scott McElree informed the board of a drop in serious crimes and filled them in with the latest about the borough’s battle against opioid addiction.

McElree notified the board that the borough has seen a significant drop in severe, quality of life offenses, known as Part 1 offenses. These include criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. In total, the borough has seen a 200 percent decrease in these crimes since 2004, the same year that McElree became police chief.

In 2004, 429 Part 1 crimes were committed. In 2015, the borough experienced 215 Part 1 crimes. The borough has seen 137 Part 1 crimes so far in 2018, with approximately 225 being projected for the year’s end.

McElree attributed the drop in Part 1 offenses to police department personnel as well as the borough’s community-based policing model.

The report prepared by McElree detailed crimes mandated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), which collects crime data for the benefit of law enforcement agencies. The UCR collects data on two crime categories — Part 1 offenses and Part 2 offenses.

McElree said the program is advantageous to law enforcement agencies.

“It’s a way to measure the different types of police services that we provide,” he said.

He also examined opioid-related incidents, which have hit the borough, state, and nation at alarming rates. McElree said that despite proactive policing and the implementation of Narcan, an opioid overdose antidote, the borough is seeing a “steady increase” in opioid-related incidents.

Deaths from opioid overdoses have risen since 2016, according to McElree’s report. The borough has seen 10 opioid related deaths this year, compared to six in 2016 and five in 2017. The borough police department has also had more non-Narcan responses this year than in previous years, and is on track to exceed the number of Narcan uses from 2017, per McElree’s projections.

He noted that the Quakertown Borough Police Department was one of the first law enforcement agencies in Bucks County to regularly carry Narcan, a move that he says has saved a significant number of lives.

“Our police officers were one of the first communities in Bucks County to carry Narcan and we’ve been administering Narcan for several years in Quakertown,” McElree said.

He added in his report that the opioid crisis isn’t unique to Quakertown, and that it’s something that communities are grappling with all across the country.

“There is an opioid epidemic. That’s occurring all over the county, every community has a problem.”

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