Keeping Lowell Safe: Police Beat for December 2023

Photo courtesy of Police Chief Chris Hurst

December is always a jolly month in Lowell. Despite the lack of snow, there was no shortage of festive spirit in the community as Santa visited, crowds gathered for the annual nighttime parade and Nite of Christmas Cheer, and homes and businesses across town were aglow with lights.

The Lowell Police Department ended the year on a positive note with news that a long-awaited new vehicle – a 2023 Ford Explorer – was finally about ready to enter the fleet. They also dealt with a few assaults, responded to nearly a dozen accidents and discovered an infant left in a truck.

More on that in a minute, but first, here’s a look at some of the case numbers from December. In total, the department logged 183 cases including the followings:

  • 26 assists to other agencies
  • 24 pistol permits and sales
  • 16 general and motorist assists
  • 11 traffic accidents
  • 9 suspicious situations
  • 8 welfare checks
  • 5 ordinance violations
  • 5 non-aggravated assaults
  • 3 malicious destruction of property
  • 2 Flock hits
  • 1 road kill permit
  • 1 drunk driving

Lowell officers also made 71 traffic stops that resulted in 9 citations.

Year-End Statistics

Overall, the Lowell Police Department logged 2,601 cases for 2023 and made 925 traffic stops during the 12 months of the year.

In a handful of categories – such as motor vehicle fraud, animal issues, and liquor violations – the department recorded a single case. In others, there were hundreds of cases. The top categories for the year were:

1. Assists to other agencies: 487
2. Pistol permits and sales: 313
3. General and motorist assists: 237
4. Suspicious situations: 214
5. Traffic accidents: 123
6. Ordinance violations: 105
7. Standby police officer: 103
8. Alarms: 97
9. Driving law violations: 53
10. Obstructing justice: 44

Resident Assistance

Don’t worry folks! This opossum is alive and unharmed! Photo courtesy of Police Chief Chris Hurst

Providing general assistance to the public is part of the Lowell Police Department’s job, and Police Chief Chris Hurst was called upon for an unusual situation in December.

A resident had an opossum in their yard which apparently wouldn’t leave, and they weren’t sure what to do. Hurst responded to the call and found the animal walking along the yard fence. It did not have any obvious injury or illness but appeared to be unsure how to get down from its perch.

Hurst donned some gloves and grabbed the opossum by the tail – considered by some to be the safest way to move an opossum – before placing it in a plastic tub and driving it to the nearby state game area. There, he gently let it go, and hopefully, the opossum is now happily doing whatever it is that opossums do in January.

Call from Good Samaritan Leads to Discovery of Baby in Truck

Hurst credits a good Samaritan for helping ensure the safety of both an infant and an adult. The person observed a truck driving erratically and notified police.

Officers were familiar with the truck since they had received calls about it on earlier occasions and found it parked at an apartment complex. The person who answered the door at the apartment at first denied driving the truck but then admitted to being the person behind the wheel.

However, the person said they couldn’t leave the apartment because they had a small child at home with them. Officers returned to the parking lot to inspect the truck, which had reportedly hit a mailbox, when they noticed a car seat and baby inside.

The person in the apartment was not in a condition to care for children, and police were able to locate grandparents to come collect the infant and the child inside the apartment as well as another child who got off the bus.

In the meantime, it was brought to the officers’ attention that the person in the apartment had a weapon and was threatening self-harm. The weapon was successfully removed, and the individual was transported to the hospital for evaluation.

The incident resulted in charges related to driving without a license, having an uninsured vehicle and child neglect.

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