Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces Release of Annual Report on Burlington Police Department

Burlington, Vt. – Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the release by the City’s Planning Department of the 2021 Annual Report of the Burlington Police Department (BPD). This report will be presented at the Burlington Police Commission Meeting tonight.

This is the second Annual Report of this scope, and contains information on six subject areas: individuals who interacted with the police, incidents and offenses, pedestrian stops, traffic stops, arrests, and uses of force.

The report’s goals are to provide more information about the BPD to the community; to document racial disparities in policing; and to help identify, where possible, the causes of those disparities. This Annual Report is an expansion of the BPD’s long-standing commitment to transparency as a value that increases accountability, outcomes and public trust (see bottom for background on the BPD’s transparency efforts).  

Mayor Weinberger released the following statement: 

“The BPD 2021 Annual Report is a detailed and illuminating document that takes BPD’s long-standing commitment to transparency to a new level and sheds new light on the challenges and work of the department over the past year.  I want to thank the Planning Department, the BPD, and the Police Commission for their contributions to this important report. The report documents definitively the trends Chief Murad and I raised concerns about throughout the year: as our number of officers declined throughout 2021, the community experienced a significant rise in Priority 1 incidents – incidents requiring an urgent response – and in some concerning categories of crime, including gunfire incidents, burglaries, and stolen vehicles. 

“A top priority in public safety right now must be to end these concerning trends and rebuild the department to the levels necessary to properly police Burlington. The BPD will be presenting its rebuilding plan to the City Council at a budget meeting next week.

“It must also be a top priority for the BPD, and our community, to continue to work to eliminate racial bias or disparity in policing and all of our institutions. To that end, the report includes new efforts to examine police data and identify racial disparities in policing activities. While the report shows some areas of significant progress, particularly with respect to traffic stops, I am concerned to see that some racial disparities continued in 2021.  I will continue working with Chief Murad and the BPD leadership to make sure that all uses of force against Black individuals are reviewed when they happen, and continue meeting monthly with the Police Commission to examine the causes of these disparities and identify actions the City and BPD can take to address them in a meaningful way.”  

Police Chief Jon Murad said, “The Annual Report is the latest in a long list of the Burlington Police Department’s transparency efforts. Sharing the work that the women and men of the department do with and for our neighbors is a key component of public service. It allows our community to understand that work, and all of us to dig in together on how we can improve.”

The report’s key findings include: 

  • Total number of incidents has declined, but Priority 1 incidents increased during 2021: BPD recorded 21,570 incidents in 2021, down 8.5% from 23,584 in 2020. This continues a trend in decreasing incidents, attributable to decreases in traffic stops, reported retail theft, and foot patrols. However, there were 2,081 Priority 1 incidents in 2021, which represents a 14.2% increase from the 1,822 incidents in 2020. Priority 1 incidents are the most urgent types, according to BPD’s Priority Response Plan, and include things like arson, assault, overdose, and robbery.  
  • There were 3,767 crimes recorded in 2021, up 10.2% from 3,418 in 2020. Of the 3,767 crimes in 2021, 382 were violent versus 398 in 2020.
  • Overall, arrests are declining, but Black individuals make up a higher percentage of total arrests and are more than twice as likely to be arrested for a violent felony.  Arrests have been decreasing since 2016. BPD made 987 arrests in 2021, down 14.0% from 1,148 in 2020. Across race, most arrestees are cited, meaning they are assigned a court date but not detained until that court date. Approximately 4.3% of incidents result in an arrest.  Approximately 75.8% of arrestees in 2021 were White and 20.5% were Black.
  • Police use of force increased from 2020’s historic low. Black individuals are more likely to be subjects of uses of force, including for non-violent crimes, but are less likely to be injured than white individuals. There were 188 uses of force in 2021, up 17.5% from 160 in 2020. Of the 187 uses of force in 2021 where race was known, 112 (59.9%) were against White people and 68 (36.4%) were against Black people. (For the purpose of this report, use of force includes all law-enforcement actions beyond compliant handcuffing.)


  • For White subjects of force, the most common type of force is “empty hand controls” (empty hand controls are use of force without a weapon).
  • For Black subjects, the most common type is pointing a firearm.
  • Approximately 15.4% of subjects of force are injured; White subjects are more likely to be injured than Black subjects.
  • Black arrestees for violent crimes have about the same risk of being the subject of force as White arrestees of violent crime.
  • Black arrestees for non-violent crimes are more likely to be the subject of force than White arrestees of non-violent crime.


  • As a result of focus and change in departmental policy, overall traffic stops continue to decrease, helping address historical racial disparities:  Traffic stops have been decreasing steadily since 2015. In recent years, the Police Department has ceased its use of the lawful but controversial “pretextual stop” for random interdiction. A pretextual stop occurs when an officer pulls over a motorist for a minor traffic or equipment violation and then uses the stop to investigate a more serious crime.
  • The number of officer-generated traffic stops has decreased approximately 89%, falling from 6,262 in 2015 to fewer than 700 last year. Across all races, most stops are for moving violations. Officers made 680 traffic stops in 2021; 586 were of White drivers, and 49 were of Black.  The proportion of Black drivers stopped (7.3%) is lower than their share of the driving population (10.6%), as estimated by crash data.

Most of the data in the City’s report come from Valcour, which is the BPD’s computer-aided dispatch and records management system. Burlington Police Department has used Valcour since the end of 2011.

The “Burlington Police Department 2021 Annual Report” was written by Jonathan Larson, City Data Analyst, in the Office of City Planning.

Background on BPD’s Transparency Efforts
This Annual Report is an expansion of the BPD’s long-standing commitment to transparency as a value that increases accountability, outcomes and public trust. Prior transparency efforts have included:

•     Being the first police department in the state to release traffic stop and use of force statistics on a regular basis; 
•    The creation of a police data portal and dashboard in 2014 (LINK);  
•    Becoming one of the first police departments in New England to deploy body cameras on all officers;
•    Releasing annual traffic reports since 2017 and annual use of force reports since 2016 (LINK);
•    Providing immediate reports to the Mayor about every use of force against a person of color, since January 2021; and
•    Releasing monthly Use of Force Reports on the City’s website that detail every BPD use of force, since January 2021 (LINK);

Police Department Annual Report
BPD Annual Report Addendum



Press Release Date: 
City Department: 
Mayor's Office