A Merriam crime statistics report for 2015 shows a spike in auto theft cases but no dramatic increase in other categories over the last five years.
Reports of auto theft spiked from 53 in 2014 to 100 in 2015. Merriam Police Chief Mike Daniels told the city council this week that while auto theft nearly doubled in Merriam, it had also increased across the Kansas City metro in the last year. Auto theft cases had dropped from 81 in 2011 and been significantly lower in the last three years.
Crime reports in 2015 were less than four percent above the five-year average for Merriam overall using the Part One crimes as defined by the FBI for the more serious categories of crime. None of the categories other than auto theft set a benchmark high in 2015 for the five-year period.
Daniels said the vast majority of thefts are in the retail district which is large for a city the size of Merriam. IKEA generated fewer than 20 calls last year, Daniels said, but the store’s presence has increased traffic to Merriam which has possible resulted in more theft reports overall.
The department handled 12,882 calls for service in 2015. During the year, officers made 1,245 arrests and only had to restrain 26 persons who resisted arrest. Of those, 18 were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Officers had to point a Taser at three suspects, but only had to deploy it one time. In three incidents officers pointed firearms because they believed the suspect had the ability to resist with deadly force. All of those persons complied and were arrested without further incident.
During the year, the department provided five families with wrist devices in its autism wrist band program. Daniels said police had not received calls to track the bands, but some of the parents had put the wrist bands to use.
The full 2015 annual report by the department can be found here.