Carjackings rise sharply in first 6 months of year 22 cases reported from January to June

November 15, 1996|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Carjackings and carjacking attempts in Anne Arundel County rose nearly 430 percent in the first six months of this year from the same period last year, according to state police figures.

The increase was much higher than in Howard County, the county with the next largest increase at 133 percent, from three in the first half of 1995 to seven in the same period this year.

From January to June, there were 22 carjackings in Annapolis and Anne Arundel, compared to four in the same period the previous year and 23 for all of 1995.

Neither state nor county police could explain the sharp increase in Arundel, but county police noted that the numbers have leveled off since July.

County police figures, which do not include Annapolis, show a total of 23 carjackings through the end of October, four more than the total for all last year.

Lt. Zora Lykken, a spokeswoman for the Annapolis Police Department, said yesterday that carjackings have increased in the city, but she did not have statistics available. She said the city rarely has more than three or four a year.

Statewide, carjackings have increased 22 percent, the state police statistics show.

Mike McKelvin, a state police spokesman, said the increase in carjackings shows criminals are becoming more aggressive.

"People are more willing to blatantly put the lives of others in danger," McKelvin said. "No longer is a criminal afraid of being identified by a victim. Nowadays, criminals are more willing to face their victims than they were in the past."

The contact between criminal and victim in carjackings increases the risk of serious injury or death, McKelvin said.

He said carjackings often are associated with robberies and other crimes in which the perpetrator wants to make a quick getaway.

But Vaughn Dykes, a county police spokesman, said carjackings in Arundel tend to be isolated incidents not associated with other crimes. He said the crime is usually a more aggressive form of auto theft.

"It has to do with having something to ride in," Dykes said. "They're just getting a joy ride and dropping [the car] off somewhere."

Because of the likelihood ofa greater incidence of robberies during the holiday season, counties such as Anne Arundel are likely to see more carjackings as well, McKelvin said.

Dykes said he does not expect a jump in carjackings in the last six weeks of the year, but county police will increase patrols in shopping centers throughout the holidays.

Police said motorists should stay aware of their surroundings, park in well-lighted areas and try not to ride alone to avoid robbery. In case of a carjacking, Dykes warned victims to cooperate with their attacker.

Carjackings

.. .. .. .. .. 1992 .. 1993 .. 1994 .. 1995 .. 1996

Anne Arundel

Jan.-June .. .. n/a ... . 15 .. .. 8 ... . 4 .. . 22

Jan.-Dec. .. ... 19 ... . 26 .. . 19 .. . 23 ... n/a

Statewide

Jan.-June .. .. 267 .. . 325 ... 359 ... 348 ... 426

Jan.-Dec. .. .. 655 .. . 691 ... 799 ... 891 ... n/a

Pub Date: 11/15/96

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