Violent crimes up 17.8 percent over early '95 Property offenses also rise during first quarter

June 26, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Violent crimes and property crimes are on the rise in Anne Arundel County, according to first-quarter crime statistics released yesterday by county police.

Crimes against people jumped from 360 during the first three months of 1995 to 424 during the first three months of this year, spurred by a near 18 percent increase in robberies and a 14.8 percent increase in aggravated assaults. Violent crimes climbed 17.8 percent, and property crimes -- burglary, theft, auto theft and arson -- rose 4.5 percent.

"No, it's not bleak," said Cpl. Ronald Hines, a county police spokesman. "The Police Department is always concerned when we get an increase in the crime rate, and when we see [the increase], we do as much proactive work as we can."

Hines said the increase in crime in Anne Arundel mirrors what is happening throughout the state. "It's a trend that all agencies are dealing with," he said.

To combat it, "we're adjusting our patrols to make the citizens of this county feel as safe as they can feel."

Although the number of homicide cases dropped from three to one cases, reported rapes jumped 66.7 percent.

Hines said a majority of the rape cases occurred in March and were classified as acquaintance offenses, in which the victim and offender knew each other.

"I don't know what happened in March to make [the statistic] go up," he said.

Hines attributed the increase in robberies from 123 cases in the first quarter of last year to 145 this year to a more brazen attitude among criminals, noting that most crimes occurred on the streets or in parking lots.

"They can be less likely to fall victim to these opportunists by employing some common-sense crime-prevention strategies," he said.

Hines said the department was initiating programs to combat the rise in robberies.

He cited the establishment of anti-robbery units in all four county-police districts and increased surveillance in areas identified as having the most criminal activity.

Hines said the rise in aggravated assaults was related to an increase in domestic assault cases. He noted that the department has applied for a federal grant with the YWCA to target and educate offenders in domestic abuse cases.

Burglary and theft rose from 3,419 cases last year to 4,689 this year. But the number of auto thefts dropped from 426 to 336 and arson cases dropped from 13 to five.

Pub Date: 6/26/96

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