MARYLAND STATE — Crime increases 9% statewide
Led by a surge in robberies and thefts, the number of crimes reported in Maryland during the first nine months of this year climbed 9 percent, the State Police say.
Compared with the same period last year, there were some 2,000 more robberies across the state, a jump of 17 percent. Larcenies increased by 13,000, up 12 percent. And there were 6 percent more break-ins and car thefts.
The trend in violent crimes, however, was mixed. There were nine fewer murders across the state. Reported rapes increased by 5 percent, but aggravated assaults were down 2 percent.
State Police spokesman Chuck Jackson said the statistics are used to help police agencies realign their enforcement effort.
Baltimore police spokesman Dennis Hill had no explanation for the increases. "Crime is cyclical. There is no rhyme or reason to it," he said. "It is societal, not a police problem. We get called when it's too late."
Crime was up 9 percent in the Baltimore region. Robberies were up 20 percent, larcenies and car thefts each climbed 11 percent. Murder and aggravated assaults were both down, and reported rapes were up 5 percent.
The sharpest increases in metropolitan-area crime were in fast-growing Carroll and Harford counties, up 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
Crime in Baltimore was up 10 percent, with Baltimore and Howard counties each up by 9 percent. Arundel's crime rate grew by 7 percent in the first nine months of this year.
The sharpest crime increases in Maryland were recorded in Somerset (up 35 percent) and Caroline (32 percent) counties. Worcester County reported a 29 percent decline in crime.
Police officials in those Eastern Shore counties were puzzled by the changes.
Religious leaders confer
About 50 Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy and lay officials met this week in Baltimore for a conference titled "Substance Abuse: A Spiritual Issue."
The series of speeches and workshops was co-sponsored by the Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, the Maryland Interfaith Legislative Committee, the Baltimore Jewish Council, the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council and local Muslim congregations.
The Rev. Edward Heim, the MILC chairman and the executive director of the local Lutheran Office on Social Policy, said the conference had its roots in the creation two years ago of the governor's commission. Members of MILC, claiming that substance abuse is linked to spiritual emptiness, asked to be involved in the commission's work.
The commission welcomed the suggestion. Its chairman, Dr. Neil Solomon, told the conference, "This group can start an army of citizens who can throw out some pebbles and start the ripples that have an effect on everyone in our state.
"I've always believed in holistic medicine," Solomon said to the gathering. "You need the spirit, you need the mind, you need the body. Put them all together and you can lick anything. I want you to help me with the spirit."
Solomon also advocated an approach that would focus on what he called "The Three A's" -- awareness of substance abuse, accountability of treatment programs, and action.
Reggie Walton, a White House adviser on crime, gave the keynote speech at the conference held at The Forum banquet facility in northwest Baltimore.
Walton decried the effects of substance abuse on inner-city parents who are unable to care for their children and often physically abuse them. He bemoaned -- but said he understood -- the unwillingness of businesses to locate in areas overrun by drug traffic and its related violence. He mourned the breakdown of "the first line of defense against improper social behavior -- the family."
Walton, nominated last month to be an associate judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, said places of worship should "open their space" as drug treatment facilities.
Charges in teen's death
A 24-year-old Baltimore man was arrested and charged today in the shooting death last week of a 17-year-old Pimlico youth.
Samuel Edward Gregory,of the 2600 block of Quantico Ave.,was arrested at 2:25 a.m.in a high-rise apartment building in the 100 block of Aisquith Ave. and charged with first-degree murder and a felony handgun violation in the death of Michael Dickey,of the ++ 2800 block of Quantico Ave.Gregory was being held at Northwestern District.
Dickey was shot in the back at 11:50 p.m. Saturday after quarreling with a man,police said.He died at Sinai Hospital about 45 minutes later.
The teen-ager had tried to run away but made it only 10 feet before he was shot,witinesses said
Salary reductions are coming
Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall was to announce plans today to cut employee salaries so the county can make up the latest $7.9 million reduction in state aid.
His spokeswoman, Louise Hayman, said yesterday that the administration was considering a salary cut of 3.6 percent, "maybe less," but with flexibility for employees to decide how to make that cut in the salary budget.