Village sees increase in crime, tickets after past year’s decrease

A review of the Geneseo Police Department’s actions in 2017 found that crime and fines on Main Street rose last year. VIllage Chief of Police Eric Osganian believes the data does not represent a major change in village law enforcement behavior. (Izzy Graziano/Knights’ Life Editor)

The 2017 Geneseo Police Department report on crime showed that, in most cases, crime rates were level with the year before. Arrests and ticketing rates, including traffic tickets, however, have gone up from 2016 to 2017. Students have expressed concerns with the overall rate of fines and arrests within the Village.

Village Chief of Police Eric Osganian believes the increase does not reflect any significant changes in the Village, explaining that most of the numbers dipped in 2016 and the number of arrests and tickets issued returned to where they had been in 2015. Parking tickets decreased in 2016 due to construction on Main Street, according to Osganian.  

“Main Street was pretty much a disaster, so I think it was hard to give out tickets with them doing construction on the street,” Osganian said. “I think that’s maybe the cause of why it was low the year before, and then it went back up this past year because there was no construction.” 

Beyond the disrepair on Main Street, the Geneseo Police Department additionally underwent state accreditation procedures in 2016, according to Osganian. The process led to an increase in paperwork and policy reviews for the department, diverting focus from writing traffic tickets that year.

The Village’s increase in crime is related to an rise in drug-related offenses, especially opioids, Osganian said. 

“We are seeing more drug complaints than we did years ago, not a question,” Osganian said. “We’ve had more NARCAN saves [for opioid overdoses] in the past two years than 10 years before that. We’re not immune to the drug issues that everybody else has.”

While drug complaints slightly lowered last year, Osganian believes that these cases are generally growing, so arrests have continued to rise. Osganian doubts that the number of arrests and tickets given will continue to climb, and predicts that there would probably not be an increase “to any high degree” in upcoming years. 

Students have expressed concerns over the heightened arrests and ticket rates in 2017, focusing on the over-enforcement of certain rules.

Political science and philosophy double major junior Nick Rauchbauer considers the police in Geneseo to be often overly zealous with tickets. Rauchbauer acknowledges that actions such as going 40 mph in a 30 mph zone break the law,  but he argues ticketing drivers is a waste of police time. 

 “I’ve never been pulled over driving six hours from my house to this school,” Rauchbauer said. “But as soon as I enter Geneseo, I am on high alert. I’ve already been pulled over here two or three times.”

Rauchbauer also explained how parking tickets are distributed on Main Street seems excessive, as he has had friends receive tickets for not being able to move their car from a municipal lot because the car was snowed in. 

 Business administration major freshman Jake Graves agreed that local police tend to enforce the laws too heavily.

“From my room, I have a view of the main road and I can see [that] a lot of cars that get pulled over pretty often,” Graves said. 

Graves noted that it seems like people get pulled over in Geneseo more than in his hometown. 

Osganian reiterated his notion that 2017 has represented a break in an otherwise positive pattern. 

“There is a good trend, minus [last] year,” Osganian said. “The incidents go down, but then pop back up again, so it’s tough, because you’d think that with more enforcement, this number would go down. Maybe that’ll happen in 2018.”