The number of felony arrests in Canal Winchester doubled in December, and the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office said residents should expect the higher numbers to continue.
Sgt. Jared Collins reported to Canal Winchester City Council Jan. 7 there were 14 felony warrants issued in December and traffic stops also were up.
He said the increased numbers were due in part "holiday-related crimes" and in part to proactive measures by the department.
Statistics from the sheriff's office show there were 150 traffic stops in the city in December resulting in 93 citations being issued. The monthly average in 2012 was 96 stops and 46 citations.
There were 11 felony arrests and 26 misdemeanor arrests in December; department statistics show the monthly average number of felony warrants issued in 2012 was five, with three felony arrests. The average monthly number of misdemeanor arrests in 2012 was 18.
"Our traffic stops were way up and our felony arrests over doubled anything else we've done this year," Collins said. "The number of warrants almost doubled as well.
"We had a crazy December; at the tail-end of the year, our numbers shot way up, but it's a trend that will continue."
According to Collins, the department is focused on "proactive policing and criminal interdiction" -- that is, deputies putting themselves in situations where they are more likely to find criminal activity.
"Primarily last month, it had been the uptick in retail theft and that type of holiday-based criminal activity," he said. "I think the surprise for us was the number of felony arrests we made -- that part was not normal and hopefully, not an indicator of things to come.
"But a handful of the felonies were drug arrests and that's due to our people out in the field doing contact-type activity and being proactive."
Collins said he doesn't think the numbers suggest there is more crime happening in Canal Winchester. He believes the numbers are related to his deputies being more proactive and efficient, which is why he wants the trend to continue.
"We will maintain this higher level of interaction and that means going out and stopping and making contact with more violators, which will lead us to enforcement on larger crimes," Collins said. "So I want violators to know they need to beware."
Collins introduced new deputies Kelly Canale and Justin Mann to council last week. Both have a little more than a year's experience in the Fairfield County Jail Division and will be working for Collins out of the Canal Winchester substation, which is in the basement of Town Hall, 10 N. High St.