Juvenile arrests climb 267 percent in Sykesville

April 17, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Statistics from the Sykesville Police Department show an increase in juvenile arrests, assaults and speeding citations in 1993.

The report, issued last week, detailed a 33 percent decrease in adult arrests and a 267 percent increase in the number of juveniles arrested by the six-member town force.

Most juvenile offenses involved malicious destruction, vandalism and mischievous crimes, said Officer Onas W. Jansen III.

"One or two juveniles in particular are responsible for about a quarter of those arrests," said Officer Jansen, who has been on the job for nearly a year. "We think we have them in hand now and they won't be doing the same things over and over."

While speeding citations increased in the last four months of 1993, Officer Jansen thinks a crackdown on violators that began last summer is taking effect.

As the town traffic enforcement safety officer, he has trapped speeders on Obrecht Road, at the north end of town. He is well into his 19th ticket book -- each holds 25 citations.

Several hundred motorists use Obrecht Road daily to Route 32. The posted limit drops from 40 mph to 25 mph within the town boundary. Officer Jansen said he clocked one driver at 70 mph in the town zone where children walk to school.

"Within a quarter-mile, we have three 'reduce speed' signs -- one 250 feet before the zone changes," the officer said. "I can't fathom why people can't get through their heads they have to slow down. There are children and residents of a retirement home on that street."

He warns drivers less than 15 miles over the limit and tickets motorists driving faster than that. In the last four months of 1993, nearly 200 motorists faced fines that ranged from $60 to $260 and up to five points on their driving records.

"Slowly, but surely, the message is getting across," he said. "The public is slowing down."

Many of those ticketed also were cited for noncompliance of seat belt regulations, a $25 fine.

"I give no warning for seat belt violators," Officer Jansen said.

Arrests for driving while intoxicated dropped from 10 to two last year, the report said. The officer attributes the decrease to greater awareness. But the problem persists, he said.

Assault was the only major crime that showed an increase in 1993, up 35 percent.

"Most incidents were domestics or drunk-and-disorderlies," Officer Jansen said. "There are some people we deal with on an almost daily basis."

A former Baltimore County policeman, Officer Jansen called the situation in Sykesville stable.

"Crime never ceases, but it's not an epidemic here," he said. "Violations have definitely declined."

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