City crime drops 11%

downward trend continues


Crime in Baltimore dropped nearly 11 percent during the first four months of 1999, continuing a downward trend for the past three years, according to statistics released yesterday by city police.

Homicides have taken one of the largest drops in the past several years. Seventy-seven killings were recorded in Baltimore from January through April, compared with 106 during the same time in 1998 -- a 27 percent drop.

The city is on pace for fewer than 240 killings this year, which would be far less than the 314 that occurred in 1998 and made Baltimore the fourth-deadliest city per capita in the nation.

Though crime has declined in the past three years, city leaders had been hard-pressed to talk about a safer city because the homicide rate remained relatively steady. Despite a push to keep the number below 300 last year, the year ended with more than the 312 homicides recorded in 1997.

Crime in seven other categories also has dropped during the past four months -- rape was down 22 percent, assaults down 13 percent, burglary down 14 percent and auto theft down 18 percent. Police said 2,092 cars have been stolen since January, down 488 from the total last year at this time.

"Our continued focus on violent crime is clearly paying off as crime is at its lowest point this decade," Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier said in a statement.

Pub Date: 6/09/99

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