Violent crimes decline -- except for robbery

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

While other violent crimes dropped off slightly in Anne Arundel County during the first nine months of this year, robbery surged by 14.1 percent, an increase fueled by population density and more roads, county police said yesterday.

"The population density in Northern Anne Arundel County, together with the large volume of vehicular traffic . . . makes it more difficult to respond to calls for service and apprehend offenders," notes a report on third-quarter crime statistics.

Maryland Routes 198, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Interstates 95 and 97 allow robbery suspects to escape into surrounding jurisdictions, police said, noting an increase from 298 robberies in the first nine months of 1993 to 340 such incidents this year.

The greatest increase was in the heavily populated Northern District, police said, while both the Northern and Western Districts reported an increase in gasoline station hold-ups.

Bicycle patrols begun about three years ago in the Northern District have helped nab some robbery suspects, said Officer Randy Bell, a department spokesman.

Many robberies occur on shopping mall parking lots, places where bicycle patrols are most effective, he said. Bicycle patrol officers are trained to chase fleeing suspects and leap from their bicycles to catch them, Officer Bell said.

The patrols are now in use in all four police districts, he added.

Police reported an overall decrease of 1.7 percent in serious crimes, which include homicide, rape, aggravated assault, breaking and entering, theft, car theft, arson and robbery. Homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault are considered violent crimes, which dropped 4.5 percent to 1,127 incidents from the 1,180 incidents reported for the first nine months of 1993.

Homicides dropped from 12 at this time last year to 10 this year, or 16.7 percent, according to the statistics. Aggravated assaults were down to 688 incidents, a decrease of 11.6 percent from the 778 reported the previous year, but police do not take credit for the decrease because such attacks usually are crimes of passion that take place in private, the report said.

Weapons offenses led the way for less serious crimes, up 21.3 percent to 1,025 incidents from 845 in 1993. Weapons offenses include the selling, possession or discharge of a weapon, as well as accidental shootings, police said.

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