Crime rise in township with Dayton Mall, Austin Landing not as sharp as 2018

A shooting at a Miami Twp. hotel last year led to a police pursuit that ended with a crash. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF
A shooting at a Miami Twp. hotel last year led to a police pursuit that ended with a crash. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

Crime rose slightly in Miami Twp. last year – at a much lesser rate than in 2018 — with an increase in violent offenders and a decline in property violations.

The total number of crimes reported increased 3.3 percent in 2019, a dramatic drop from the 23.4 percent spike in the previous year compared to 2017, according to a recently released report by the township’s police department.

The number of murders, robberies and aggravated assaults jumped by nearly 43 percent, going from 63 in 2018 to 90 last year. Those same crimes in the community of about 29,100 residents totaled 37 in 2017.

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“Compared to bigger jurisdictions, small ticks – by which I mean 20 or 30 different types of offenses within a year – can make a noticeable change in those numbers,” Miami Twp. police Capt. John Magill said.

“But statistically, it’s hard to put a lot of value in it because it’s such a small number,” he said.

Two homicides were reported in the township in 2019, one more than each of the previous years, records show.

Meanwhile, property crimes — such as burglary, shoplifting and fraud — dropped last year 11.2%, declining from 1,332 to 1,182, according to police.

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Since 2017, the number of calls for service has jumped 33 percent, going from 22,191 to 29,594 last year.

The hike in those calls was a key factor in a push for more officers. A tax increase approved by voters last year will fund up to three more positions.

Miami Twp. is home to the Dayton Mall in the Miami Crossing District and Austin Landing. Both shopping venues anchor a business corridor around Ohio 741 where some of the township’s largest employers are located.

The area also has a heavy mix of retail and hotels near the mall, drawing a daily average of nearly 50,000 vehicles on Ohio 725 and 741 combined, according to Ohio Department of Transportation 2019 records.

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Interstates 75 and 675 surrounding the mall had a combined 171,275 vehicles traveling them daily on average last year, according to ODOT.

The increase in violent crime may be influenced by shoplifters who can become combative when apprehended and face an additional aggravated assault charge, said police officer Pat McCoy, the department’s public information officer.

“When you have a shoplifting theft, sometimes the thief will resist with store security, or will fight store security. Then the price of poker goes up,” he said.

“It may be only 12 or 13 instances where that happens throughout the year. But unfortunately, it reflects in the reporting system,” McCoy said.

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The number of use-of-force instances recorded in the department hasn’t spiked. But it has slightly increased the past two years, going from 31 in 2017 to 34 two years ago and 37 last year, records show.

MIAMI TWP. CRIME

Description 2018 2019

•Part 1 Violent: 63 90

•Part 1 Property: 1006 933

•Part 2 Violent: 248 344

•Part 2 Property: 326 249

•Society: 559 614

•All Other Offenses: 223 277

Total: 2425 2507

-Part 1 violent crimes: Include murder, robbery and aggravated assault;

-Part 1 property crimes: Include burglary, shoplifting and other thefts;

-Part 2 violent crimes: Include simple assault and some sex offenses;

-Part 2 property crimes: Include fraud and receiving stolen property

-Society crimes: Include OVI and drug violations.

SOURCE: Miami Twp. Police Department