Balto. Co. police arrest more for less serious crimes

Releasing '03 data, authorities cite community's help in fighting 'quality of life' offenses

April 28, 2004|By Jacqueline Seaberg | Jacqueline Seaberg, Staff

According to statistics released today, arrests for crimes such as drug possession, property damage and check fraud increased in Baltimore County in 2003 as police touted a focus on fighting "quality of life" offenses.

Police credit cooperation from community groups for helping them identify problem areas and frequent offenders, using that information to target individuals and groups involved in disruptive behavior.

"Safety and security in our neighborhoods depend on a highly capable police department and deeply involved residents. Baltimore County is fortunate to have both," police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan said in a statement. "That partnership is the key to effective crime fighting at all levels."

Arrests for so-called Part II crimes increased nearly 17 percent in 2003, while offenses went up 1.1 percent. Under the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting system, less serious offenses such as marijuana possession and disorderly conduct are classified as Part II crimes, as well as felonies such as counterfeiting.

Economic crimes including embezzlement and identity theft also fall into this category. County police today reported that fraud cases went up to 1,653 in 2003 from 1,545 in 2002. Identity theft and similar crimes have increased nationwide over the same period.

"This increase in arrests for Part II crimes shows that the Baltimore County Police Department is creatively and effectively investigating crime at every level," County Executive James T. Smith Jr. said in a statement. "We will continue to aggressively pursue those who threaten the quality of life in our neighborhoods."

So-called Part I crimes include rape, murder, robbery and other more serious offenses. County police had earlier reported this year that crimes in that category decreased 7.1 percent in 2003. Violent crimes were down 5.5 percent and property crime dropped 7.5 percent.

Originally published April 28, 2004, 11:55 AM EDT

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