'91 Balto. Co. crime figures up

August 02, 1991|By Bruce Reid | Bruce Reid,Evening Sun Staff

The number of serious crimes in Baltimore County rose by nearly 10 percent during the first half of this year, but police said today that the numbers were skewed by sharp jumps in robberies and car thefts.

Robberies increased by about 39 percent, to 1,020, when compared with 736 robberies recorded in the first half of 1990.

Car thefts were up 23 percent, to 2,872. The most popular model with thieves was the Mazda 626, police said. More than 90 percent of stolen cars were recovered.

General thefts also increased by nearly 10 percent, to 11,279 from 10,261.

On the positive side, the number of burglaries actually declined slightly, to 3,669. Police said this was the lowest six-month total in the past 10 years. The Garrison and Essex areas were burglars' favorite targets, the report shows.

Part of the increase in robberies was "due to the surge of so-called 'shotgun bandit' robberies" early in the year, according to a summary released by the county Police Department.

The three western precincts recorded 522 robberies during the period, slightly more than half the county total, while the four central precincts had 309 robberies and the two eastern precincts had 189.

Police also noted that handgun use in violent crimes continued to increase. Some 622 handgun incidents were reported in the first half of this year, up more than 40 percent over the same period last year.

Nearly 18 percent of all violent crimes during the first half of this year involved handguns, compared with 14 percent last year.

"Juvenile responsibility for serious crime remains a concern of county law enforcement officials," according to the department's summary. About 32 percent of those arrested for arson, rape, robbery and other serious crimes were under 18, police said, up from 30 percent last year.

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