Property Crimes Rise

Assaults And Murders Decline

Decrease Attributed To Community Patrols

November 07, 1991|By Annapolis Police Department Robert Lee | Annapolis Police Department Robert Lee,Staff writer

New crime statistics send a mixed message to the citizens of Annapolis, as a sharp rise in property crimes was balanced with a decline inaggravated assaults and murders for the first three quarters of the year.

Deputy Police Chief Joseph Johnson said it is too early to say whether the 17 percent increase in robbery, burglary and larceny crimes can be connected to the decline in the economy. But he did attribute this year's 29 percent decline in assaults and murders to increased community-based patrols in the troubled neighborhoods of Eastport.

"Something that is significant about these numbers is the declinein aggravated assaults -- drive-by shootings and that kind of crap -- which is generally drug-related. I was very happy to see that because we had targeted it," Johnson said.

On July 1, the department kicked off two new programs in the Harbour House/Eastport Terraces community: COPS, the community-oriented police program, and a residentialpatrol comprisedof two officers who moved into the neighborhood.

This week, the department announced COPS would be spread throughout Annapolis, with one officer assigned to each region.

Johnson said he would need to look at fourth-quarter statistics before concluding that property crimes -- generally assumed to be committed to support drug habits -- are in fact being committed by non-traditional criminals who have been hurt by the economy.

Meanwhile, he said, the department will continue to focus its efforts on curtailing drug activity.

While the numbers are too small to be statistically significant, the number of homicides dropped from four to one. This year's only victim was Eastport resident Sylvester Johnson, 22, who was found dead,slumped behind the wheel of his yellow 1981 Datsun 280Z on Jan. 14.

Four arrests have been made in connection with that killing, whichpolice say was drug-related.

The department's clearance rate -- the percent of cases ending in arrest or closed under special circumstances, where the suspect is discovered but not charged -- went up slightly from 24 to 25 percent. The national average is 21 percent, Johnson said.


(January to September)

Offense.. .. .. .. 1990.. .. .. 1991

Murder.. .. .. .. ..4.. .. .. .. ..1

Rape.. .. .. .. .. 15.. .. .. ... 20

Robbery.. .. .. .. 77.. .. .. ..112

Agg. Assault.. .. 236.. .. .. .. 169

Burglary.. .. ... 381.. .. .. .. 434

Larceny.. .. .. 1,095.. .. ... 1,273

Car Theft.. .. ... 81.. .. ... .. 71

TOTAL.. .. .. ..1,889.. .. ... 2,080

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