The Baltimore County Police Department will beef up its LTC patrol division to combat last year's 4.6 percent increase in street robberies, auto thefts and other major crimes.
"We have already made changes to keep up patrol strength by transferring officers from recruiting and crime prevention and other non-patrol sections," said police spokesman E. Jay Miller.
"We need more officers. We would like to have a [recruitment] class, but the county executive has specific guidelines on new hires. Even if we were to start a class tomorrow, it would take six months to train them," he said.
The department has a current sworn strength of 1,440, all but 325 of them in the patrol division. There are 140 vacancies, 90 of them resulting from the recent retirement incentive offered by the county.
The 1991 crime statistics, released earlier this week, showed an increase in all serious crimes except murder.
The statistics showed the following:
* Violent crimes increased 9.5 percent compared with the previous year. There was a 26.5 percent decrease in murders -- 25 compared with 34 in 1990. But rapes rose 5.4 percent, from 257 to 271; robberies rose 25.3 percent, from 1,707 to 2,139; and aggravated assaults increased 4.5 percent, from 4,959 to 5,183.
* Property crimes increased 8.8 percent. Burglaries increased 4.3 percent, from 7,812 to 8,150; thefts increased 8.8 percent, from 22,022 to 23,962; motor vehicle thefts rose 16.2 percent, from 5,036 to 5,852 and arsons rose 1.9 percent, from 431 to 439.
The increase in major crimes comes at a time when budget cuts have forced the police to restrict the use of patrol vehicles to cut down on mileage costs.
All of the officers face five unpaid furlough days. They will be required to take one each month for the next five months.
Mr. Miller said 30.2 percent of the persons arrested for serious crimes were juveniles.