Murder, rape, other violence up 13% in state this year

September 21, 1990|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff

Murders, rapes and other violent crimes across the state jumped 13 percent during the first six months of this year, with a bulk of them occurring in Baltimore City, according a State Police report.

The same report showed almost half of the 133 murders committed in Baltimore were drug-related.

From January to June, there were 129,474 crimes reported in Maryland, up 6 percent from 122,049 the same time last year, the Maryland State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Section Central Records Division said.

The comparison of the first six months showed homicides dropped from 243 to 240, forcible rapes rose from 873 to 1,027, robberies increased by 12 percent, from 6,957 to 7,809 and aggravated assaults increased by 13 percent, from 10,446 to 11,781.

"The property offenses of . . . larceny and motor vehicle theft increased 5 percent," said John Vespa, of the Uniform Crime Reporting Section.

Larcenies increased from 64,800 to 67,822, and auto thefts rose to 15,925 from 13,723. But breaking and entering across Maryland fell from 25,007 to 24,870.

The figures, released yesterday, will be included later in the year in the Uniform Crime Report, which is a clearinghouse for statewide crime information.

According to the report, Baltimore accounted for 29 percent of the state's crimes. Crimes increased in every category in the city.

Homicides for the first six months of the year totaled 133, up from 116; there were 306 forcible rapes, up from 256. Robberies increased to 4,330 from 3,458; aggravated assaults increased to 3,824 from 3,208; breaking and entering rose from 6,377 to 6,937; larceny rose to 17,492 from 15,450; and car thefts rose to 4,581 from 3,363.

The report said 44 percent of the 133 murders during the first six months were drug-related, compared with 31 percent of the 240 murders for the entire state.

Current homicide figures for the city provided by the polic department show 213 murders so far this year as compared with 191 for the same period last year. Dennis Hill, police spokesman, said 41 percent of those deaths were drug-related. In 1989, there were 18,462 drug arrests.

Guns account for 52 percent of the homicides, Hill said.

When asked what city police could do to decrease homicides, Hill said: "I don't know what we can do to decrease homicides.

"Homicides are not a police problem. They are a societal problem. . . . People have lost the value, respect for life."

In Prince George's County, which accounted for 18.3 percent of the state's crimes, there were 46 murders, down from 62 last year, and 223 forcible rapes, compared with 159 in 1989.

"We're in a unique situation," said Sgt. Bruce Elliott, a spokesman for the department. "We border on Washington, D.C., and I think some of [the crime] is a spillover.

"Criminals have no borders."

Forty-seven percent of the 46 murders there were drug-related, the report said.

Elliott said he believes crack cocaine is a major factor for the crime increase in Prince George's County. "When crack cocaine first hit the streets, it seemed like the crime rate went up," he said. He added that because of national and local law enforcement efforts the drug's popularity has decreased.

In Baltimore County, there were 13 murders this year, compared with 16 last year. Also, there were 133 forcible rapes, up from 118 a year ago.

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