Burlington Police report debunks claims that crime is down in the Queen City

Burlington Police Department

UNDERSTAFFED: The Burlington Police Department continues to face challenges in getting its staffing numbers back to a level that can protect local residents.

A new report from the Burlington chief of police has been released this month that debunks the claim that overall crime levels are down for the city.

The Vermont ACLU director last week challenged the notion that crime is up in Burlington, saying that crime trend reports are exaggerated.

The BPD report states that while reported crimes are down overall for The Queen City, this stems from having fewer officers to patrol and record crime.

“Much of the decrease in total incident volume does not come because neighbors call less often. It comes from changes in officer proactivity — for example, reductions in traffic stops and foot patrols,” the report states.

According to the December report, the city is experiencing record gun incidents, and larceny is about double the normal rates since the force was defunded in 2020. In addition, overdoses and stolen vehicles are seeing dramatic increases compared to years past.

Page 13 of the report includes data comparing the five-year, year-to-date average from 2017 to 2021, to year-to-date figures. Comparisons show car thefts are up 442%, gunfire incidents are up 257%, and overdoses are up 189%.

The most murders ever, but BPD solved them all

2022 marks a record high for murders in Burlington.

“On Sunday, December 4, 2022, Burlington suffered its fifth murder of the year,” the report states. “That terrible total exceeds every known year in our city’s history.”

A silver lining is that police investigators solved each one of them. According to FBI data, 40% of all murders in the nation go unsolved.

More unarmed responses

Due to low staffing, the department plans to rely on new unarmed officers.

“These are unarmed, unsworn officers who answer quality-of-life calls for service. Historically, the BPD had two; Chief Murad’s plan expanded the role significantly. We currently have nine employees in the role, and our new FY23 budget allows us to have 12 CSOs. We have new candidates in the hiring pipeline,” the report states.

That’s in addition to Community Support Liaisons, a newly created position that is unique to Burlington’s department. “CSLs are embedded social workers with expertise in mental health, substance use disorder, and houselessness who help address social service issues. We have four CSLs in the hiring pipeline, and are hopeful to have six CSLs by early 2023,” the report states.

“Stacking” of calls will continue

The order in which calls will be responded to is changing as well.

“Our primary goal remains NEIGHBORS’ PHYSICAL SAFETY, so Priority 1 incidents are still
Priority 1 incidents, etc.,” the report states.

In some cases where calls do not receive an immediate response, they are “stacked.” According to the report, “From January 1 to December 15, 2022, there have been 24,035 total incidents. Of those, 3,817 — or 16% — have been “stacked” according to the Priority Response Plan.”

The department is hiring

To increase the police force levels, BPD is currently offering $71,000 for starting pay, with a $15,000 signing bonus, including other benefits.

On July 1, 2020, the department had 92 officers and a gun incident rate of about two per year going back several years. As of Dec. 1 of this year, there are 62 officers — of which just 54 are available. The report cites a total of 25 gun incidents for this year, compared to 12 and 13 such incidents in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Burlington Police Department
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7 thoughts on “Burlington Police report debunks claims that crime is down in the Queen City

  1. The Antiamerican Communist Lying Union might want to ask all the businesses who are leaving the criminally infested B town why they are leaving such a safe place to do business.. Of course less cops on the ground will result in less arrests that don’t mean less crime just less are getting caught for it.. idiots. Enjoy smut city citizens this is what you voted for.

  2. So who’s data do we believe, the police chief or some liberal from the ACLU,
    I’ll go with the one with boots on the ground !!

    Burlington ” The Queen City ” has become ” The Crime City ” because of the lack
    of support from the feckless city council, Burlington’s “gaggle of fools” and that’s
    being kind, and because of their lack of policing knowledge or just plain hate towards
    the police department, the citizens are forced to allow, due to low staffing, the police
    the department will rely on new ” unarmed ” officers, with shootings all over the city
    and unarmed officers are the plan ………………. wake up people !!

    The ones walking the beat should be the City Council Members…… fools in charge !!

  3. More gaslighting from the ACLU? It doesn’t take many brains to see what’s been going on ever
    since the anti-police crowd started crowing. There are constant sirens, shootings, looting and more
    all over Burlington and surrounding areas. Many people will not even go into Burlington anymore for fear of shootings. I will always put my faith and trust in the men and women in blue who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. As a resident of Essex, I hear more daily sirens now than ever. But every time I see a police car on patrol, I am thankful for that person and his or her presence.
    Yes, there may be a bad apple here and there but let’s be honest, there are bad apples everywhere in every profession. I want the thief or shooter, or drug dealer locked up in order to protect the children and adult people of our state. Refund the police if you want peace.

  4. There are 2 sources of data that are often used to gauge crime levels that are useless when examining crime in Burlington and Chittenden County. One is convictions, and as we all know, many crimes are committed in Chittenden County that are filed by police and subsequently the cases are dropped by our Soros-supported State’s Attorney. Also when people know that prosecutors and subsequently the police wont take cases seriously, the victims wont bother to report them, so statistics regarding reported crimes are also skewed downward. We voted for this.
    Much praise is due the Burlington Police for having “solved” all the murder cases but that simply means that they have credibly identified a perpetrator and presented them for prosecution. Justice is not served if the prosecutor drops the ball for whatever reason and especially if the perpetrator is back out in public in the furtherance of their criminal tendencies. The job of the Burlington police is made more difficult by lack of public appreciation, lack of credible prosecution and the “snitches get stitches” mentality that pervades some elements of the community.

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