Number of rapes up sharply in first 9 months of year

December 11, 2003|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

The number of rapes in Howard County rose sharply during the first nine months of the year, compared with the corresponding period last year, while other crimes varied, showing no significant pattern, according to statistics released yesterday by county police.

Rapes jumped from 24 to 39 in the January-September period, a 62.5 percent increase. Robberies, burglaries and theft declined, while auto thefts increased from 449 to 526, the report said. Homicides increased from five to six. A seventh occurred Oct. 9 when two robbers shot Kwang Jun Kim, a Jessup deli owner, who died that day.

Police officials said they see no trends in the numbers, despite the increased number of rapes. "It is common to see fluctuations both up and down in crime over short periods like this. We don't think anything in this report is indicative of a broader trend or an emerging problem," said Sherry Llewellyn, a police spokeswoman.

Police reported arresting eight people on rape charges and classified 27 rape cases as "cleared." Sgt. Lisa Myers said the difference could be attributed to cases in which rape victims report the crime but then decline to prosecute, even if a suspect has been identified.

Llewellyn said the report does not examine crime trends in specific areas, because it is compiled to satisfy federal law for reporting statistics to the FBI.

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