Crime down by 3.4% in 1st half of '94

August 24, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Despite a nearly 24 percent increase in robbery, overall crime in Anne Arundel County decreased in the first half of 1994 compared with the first six months of 1993, county police statistics show.

A report distributed yesterday shows a 3.4 percent decrease overall in the serious crime categories of homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, breaking and entering, theft, auto theft and arson.

Statistics show an overall 2 percent decrease in less serious crimes such as simple assault, narcotics, sex offenses, trespassing and weapons offenses.

There were 246 county robberies in the first half of 1994, up 47 from the first half of 1993.

Although the figures weren't broken down by police district, an accompanying explanation said the greatest increase came in the Northern and Eastern police districts. Drug use and the population density in each area account for the increase, police said.

Robbery is described as any use of force by a criminal against citizens to get their property, said Officer Randy Bell, a police spokesman.

The report said the department cleared 34 percent of all robbery cases, compared with the national rate of 24 percent. A case is considered cleared when a suspect is arrested, the report noted.

Carjacking and thefts at automated teller machines are included in the robbery category. Carjacking incidents were down to seven in the first half of 1994, compared with 12 for the first half of 1993. ATM thefts increased from three in the first half of 1993 to four in the first half of this year.

Both crimes are hard to prevent, police acknowledge. But Lt. Larry Hartman, the commander of the department's community relations division, suggests that staying alert and traveling with companions reduces the chances of being robbed.

"You should always be security-conscious," Lieutenant Hartman said. "If there's a lot of people around, the criminal increases his -- risk of getting caught."

Aggravated assaults dropped 16.3 percent during the first half of 1994. There were 120 fewer incidents of breaking and entering for this year, and arsons decreased by 26.3 percent.

There were eight homicides in the first half of the year, compared with nine homicides in the first half of 1993. But six of the eight homicides came in a 30-day period, from May 13 through June 8:

* Vicki Lynn Flanagan is accused of killing her live-in boyfriend, Joseph Lawrence Boswell, in the Mayo Motel May 13.

* Washington lawyers Jose Trias and Julie Gilbert were found dead in their Winchester Road home on May 16. They had been robbed and shot.

* Arthur Raymond Childress IV was shot and killed May 16 on Hammerlee Road and Sunset Drive in a dispute over a girl.

* Robert L. Hanesworth was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run accident while riding his motorcycle on Route 198 near the Baltimore-Washington Parkway May 24.

* Harley Walker of Pasadena killed his wife and himself in their West Riverside Drive home June 7.

The number of reported rapes increased 1.7 percent and thefts were down by 143 cases. Auto thefts rose 3.7 percent, to 729 incidents for the first half of 1994, up from 703 incidents in 1993.

For the less-serious categories, known as Part II crimes, weapons offenses showed the greatest increase, jumping to 639 in 1994 from 518 incidents in 1993, a difference of 23.4 percent.

Narcotics offenses increased 20.7 percent with 1,170 cases for 1994, compared with 969 cases in 1993.

Simple assaults and sex offenses decreased, the report showed.

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