Violent crime dips 2.5 percent in Baltimore County in 1997

December 11, 1997|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

Violent crime in Baltimore County fell 2.5 percent during the first nine months of 1997 compared with the corresponding period last year, a decrease that authorities attribute to crime-fighting programs involving police, residents and business owners.

The drop in murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault accompanied a dip of 1.2 percent in all crimes reported, according to police statistics released this week.

That decline, along with an increase in arrests for robbery and burglary, can be traced to better cooperation between police departments and between police and residents, county police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan said.

"It's the Police Department looking to our citizens for support and information, to give us an idea where our problems are," Sheridan said.

The numbers are in keeping with state and national trends.

The Maryland State Police reports a decline in the number of reported crimes since 1995. The agency reported a 6 percent drop in overall crime, and a 9 percent drop in violent crime, in the first half of 1997 -- Maryland's first January-to-June crime reduction since 1990.

In Baltimore County, the most dramatic change came at the Woodlawn precinct, which reported a 5 percent drop in total crime. That precinct also reported a decrease of more than 30 percent in auto thefts -- a decline that Sheridan attributed to a task force of police officers from the county and Baltimore.

In the Wilkens precinct, burglaries rose more than 42 percent from last year. Sheridan said additional investigators and patrol officers have been assigned to combat the problem there.

Sheridan said that an increasing number of burglary suspects are heroin addicts. The number of cases of heroin possession in the county increased from 87 in the first nine months of 1996 to 139 in the same period this year.

Baltimore County crime

B8Jan.-Sept. .. .. .. .. ... 1996 .. .. 1997 ... % change

TOTAL CRIMES .. .. .. .. 66,359 ... 65,580 .. .. . -1.2

VIOLENT CRIMES ... .. ... 5,703 .. . 5,560 .. .. . -2.5

Homicide . .. . .. .. .. ... 27 .... .. 19 .. ... -29.6

Rape .. .. . .... .. ... .. 220 .... . 193 .. ... -12.3

Robbery .. .. .... .. ... 1,828 .... 1,788 .. .... -2.2

Aggravated assault .. ... 3,628 .... 3,560 .. .... -1.9

PROPERTY CRIMES .. .. .. 28,687 ... 27,994 .. .... -2.4

Auto theft .. .. .... ... 3,712 .... 3,182 .. ... -14.3

Burglary . .. .. .... ... 5,162 .... 5,304 .. ..... 2.8

Theft . .. .. .. .... .. 19,531 ... 19,218 .. .... -1.6

Arson . .. .. .. .... .. .. 282 ...... 290 .. ..... 2.8

SOURCE: Baltimore County Police Department

Pub Date: 12/11/97

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