Crofton leaders are saying their community finally will get what it pays for in terms of police protection.
Recognizing that Crofton residents pay the same taxes as other county residents, county police have agreed to rework their beats to provide regular patrols in the unincorporated tax district.
The "Crofton Triangle" bounded by routes 450, 424 and 3 has been served primarily by the five-member Crofton police force.
But a new beat realignment that went into effect Tuesday shifts the Veterans Highway, Old Mill and Southgate areas into the Eastern District, freeing three officers to patrol Crofton and provide first response to 911 calls, police spokesman Capt. Michael Fitzgibbons said.
Crofton's police force will now be free to work on crime prevention and focuson backing up the county police and tackling persistent vandalism and speeding problems, Crofton Community Association president Edwin Dosek said.
"We're happy with this change in philosophy on the part of the county executive because it puts us in a position that we probably should have been all along," Dosek said. "We were finding five officers were stretched pretty thin. Our five officers can work well, unless one gets sick."
The beat realignment was worked out after the civic association initiated negotiations with county police and County Executive Robert R. Neall.
Dosek said the "perception" that Crofton wasn't getting its due services had existed for a long time, but the movement was precipitated by the September 1990 murder of GwynDixon Criswell.
Two brutal rapes and a shooting in the Crofton area occurred outside the triangle but have been used nonetheless to argue for more police patrols.
Fitzgibbons said the new coverage in Crofton will not reduce any other area's security.
"We've just tightened things up," he said. "The Western District had been divided before by I-97 and the areas to the east of the highway were cut off from the rest.
"The squeaky wheel does get the grease, but we try toapply the grease before it squeaks," he said. "Crofton is a special case because they pay a special property tax."