Crime Up 11%

Rapes, Assaults, Car Thefts Lead Rise

February 25, 1991|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

Crime in the county rose 11 percent last year, with rape, aggravatedassault and auto theft showing the biggest jumps.

Police said 108rapes were reported last year, up from 87 in 1989. They attributed the rise to educational efforts that encourage woman to report assaults.

Serious assaults jumped 18.5 percent to 653 last year compared with 551 in 1989. Car thefts rose 28.2 percent to 1,854 from 1,446, andburglaries increased 11.4 percent to 3,669 from 3,295.

Crime in the county was up for the second consecutive year. Crime rose 0.6 percent in 1989 compared with 1988.

Calls to police for service also increased, to 236,573 from 218,196.

"Since we did have more calls for service, that tends to make crime stats go up," said police spokesman Officer Dick Molloy.

Molloy said the county's growing population, lagging economy and drug problem contributed to the rise.

As drug abuse rises, more addicts rob and steal to support their habits, he said. In addition, he said, people under the influence of drugs are more apt to commit violent crimes.

This year was the second yearin a row that reports of rapes have increased. The crime is usually the most under-reported because many woman are embarrassed and don't pursue charges.

Molloy said investigators have broken up several car theft rings around the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

While police say they are committed to continuing the war on drug trafficking, arrests dropped to 1,313 last year from 1,496

in 1989,reflecting a regional trend.

Drug seizures were down 63 percent, though police confiscated $426,369 in assets and 17 cars.

Drunken-driving arrests dropped to 2,030 last year from 2,100 in 1989.

Police said the decrease reflects greater awareness of the ramificationsof drunken driving.

"People are drinking less," Molloy said. "We have not decreased our efforts and, if anything, we have increased it."

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