Law enforcement agencies join to combat Harford robberies

September 03, 1997|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Prompted by a sharp rise in robberies in the past eight months, Harford County law enforcement officials are joining with other agencies to share information they hope can help stop the crime wave.

Robbery of all types -- including armed holdups and strong-arm robberies -- increased 69 percent from Jan. 1 to Aug. 28 compared with the same period last year, the county sheriff's office said yesterday, including five bank holdups in the last few weeks of August.

Monday, a robber held up a High's store in the 4300 block of Pulaski Highway in Belcamp, tying up the clerk. There were no injuries during that robbery or the others.

"This summer, robbery has been the crime of choice," said Sgt. Edward Hopkins, spokesman for the sheriff's office. "We just don't know why."

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 28 of this year, there were 61 robberies in the county, up from 36 last year.

In response, representatives from the sheriff's office will meet once a week with officials from the Maryland State Police, the FBI, Aberdeen Proving Ground provost marshals and military police, the Maryland Transportation Authority and local police agencies, Hopkins said.

"The sheriff felt that by bringing everyone together we could start comparing all the cases and determining if the same people are committing these crimes," Hopkins said.

"It also offers a fresh perspective on the crimes from agencies other than ours."

Hopkins said officials are also using the Regional Crime Analysis Program, which the sheriff's office maintains as part of a statewide effort to assist police in comparing robberies and serious crimes.

That program looks for similarities in physical descriptions of suspects, use of weapons and details of crimes.

In Harford, all other crimes besides robbery decreased from January to August, compared with the same period last year.

Pub Date: 9/03/97

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