AT FIRST GLANCE, THE STATISTICS — a 6 percent increase in violent crimes and a 10 percent rise in property-related crimes the first nine months of 1991 -- can be frightening.
"(But), there are some misconceptions being passed out there,"says 1st Sgt. Stephen Reynolds, public information officer for the state police at Westminster.
Overall, crime rose 18 percent from the previous year (statisticsfor the entire 12 months of 1991 won't be available until March). But the increase comes after two years in which the number of crimes fell.
"If you look at 18 percent, crime is up and rampant," he said."But it's not really the case. Serious crime is a very minuscule part of the crime picture in Carroll."
While the number of murders increased 400 percent in 1991, only five occurred. Just one occurred in1990.
"Murder may be on the rise, but the thing you have to remember is that 90 percent (of the victims) know their killer," Reynolds said. "Murder is the crime you are least likely going to prevent."
A glimpse at some of the murders would seem to bear that out:
* In February, Roger Lee Childers, 24, of Finksburg, was stabbed to death by an acquaintance during a fight after a pool game at E. J.'s bar in Union Bridge. Donald Allen McCall, 32, of Union Bridge, was convicted of manslaughter and battery in connection with the murder.
* In April, Steven Edgar Rupp, 46, was shot and killed by a friend afteran argument at the Hampstead home they shared, police said. Charles Albert Rhodes Jr., 42, was charged with first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter.
* In April, Matthew Leigh Frock, 24, of Hanover, Pa., and Richard Earl Uphoff Jr., 17, of Westminster were found dead by police at the home of a friend near Taneytown. Police believe the two friends argued and said Frock shot Uphoff and then turned thegun on himself.
* In October, 74-year-old Margaret Cullen of Baltimore was stabbed to death in a Hampstead cornfield. Abras "Sandy" Morrison, 20, of Baltimore, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the case. Morrison's friend, 20-year-old Troy Shellington of Baltimore, was indicted on the same charges.
Twenty-three cases of robbery were reported the first nine months of 1991, compared with 18 in all of 1990.
One of the year's most noteworthy robberies occurred in September at the Westminster Bank & Trust branch in Gamber, where a man wielding a long-barreled handgun forced fivebank employees to lie on the floor while he emptied three cash drawers.
In other crimes: thefts up 26.4 percent; motor vehicle thefts up 44.4 percent; forcible rape down 13.6 percent; aggravated assaultsdown 24.4 percent; and breaking and entering down 1.5 percent.