Increase in violent crime tied to recession, police say

Robberies, assaults and murders up in '91

July 28, 1991|By Kris Antonelli and Donna Weaver | By Kris Antonelli and Donna Weaver,Staff writers

More people were robbed, assaulted and murdered in the first six months of 1991 than during the same period last year, county police reported.

Robberies climbed from 131 to 218, or 66.4 percent, police statistics show. So far, police have made 56 robbery arrests and continue to Investigate 129 cases.

Aggravated assaults rose 8.9 percent, from 349 to 380.

County police Chief Robert Russell attributes those increases to the recession.

Those categories suggest to me we are looking at some association with the economic downturn," he said. "They are doing what people tend to do. They turn on each other.

Homicides increased 20 percent, from five between January and June 1990 to six during the same period this year.

But the number of rapes did not change, with 46 reported over six months this year and during the same period in 1990.

The increase in most violent crimes resulted in a 22.4 percent climb in total violent offenses, from 531 to 650.

Russell said he isn't surprised.

"1 think we see what we expected to see in some cases," he said. But the total number of violent and property crimes rose only 5.3 percent, from 7,835 to 8,248.

"We are much better off than some of the surrounding jurisdictions," Russell said. "Once again, Anne Arundel County is an oasis. We still don't have the problems that are elsewhere."

Thefts rose 9.2 percent, from 4,629 to 5,053. Arsons climbed by 100 percent, from 18 to 36.

Burglaries dipped 4.8 percent, from 1.764 to 1,680. Auto thefts dropped 7.2 percent, 893 to 829.

Police also arrested fewer people for drunken driving during the past six months. DWI arrests decreased 11.3 percent. from 1,114 during the first half of 1990 to 988 over the same time this year.

Russell said such a decline isn't surprising. "Talk to any bar owner and they will say business is down." he said.

Officers issued more traffic citations, parking violations, radar summonses and repair orders over the first half of 1991 than during the same period last year., "That suggests to me that officers are doing more than they had ever done," he said.

Police also reported a reduction in drug-related complaints and arrests, which Russell said is a national trend. Drug arrests, for example, dropped 26.5 percent.

Officers arrested 6,124 adults and 1,031 juveniles during the past six months, compared to the 6,030 and 1.090 they arrested during the same time last year.

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