Overall crime in Howard County decreased during the first three months of this year, compared with that period last year, but the number of violent crimes increased, according to a police statistics released this week.
Between January and March, the number of violent crimes - described by police as homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults - increased from 137 in 2004 to 151 this year.
FOR THE RECORD - An article in Friday's Howard County section of The Sun about quarterly crime statistics incorrectly quoted Howard County Police Department spokeswoman Sherry Llewelyn. Her quote should have read: "Aggravated assaults are often domestic and challenging to prevent." The Sun regrets the error.
"Every crime that occurs is one too many, and this could be no more true than with violent crimes," said Sherry Llewellyn, a spokeswoman for the Howard County Police Department.
The homicide total remained at one, and the number of nonviolent crimes decreased, according to the report.
"The likelihood of being a victim of crime in Howard County remains low," Llewellyn said.
She said that the quarterly statistics are a good gauge in determining where to place resources, but that longer-term studies are stronger in spotting trends and surges in particular crimes.
Over the past few years, the number of assaults on county police officers had decreased, according to Llewellyn. But this week's report shows an increase in assaults on police over the three-month period. Thirty-nine officers were assaulted this year, compared with 24 last year.
"We are looking at a short period of time, but over the last few years we have seen a decrease in assaults on officers," Llewellyn said. "We will wait until the end of 2005 to see if that trend continues."
For the quarter, the number of auto thefts decreased from 157 in 2004 to 119 this year, and the number of burglaries dropped from 286 to 234.
Police arrested 20 percent more adults in violent crimes and about 30 percent more juveniles in connection to property crime this year than last.
The report also shows a rise in aggravated assaults for the period since 2003. This year, there were 84 reported, up from 78 last year and 51 in 2003.
Llewellyn said aggravated assaults typically occur within a household or between people who know each other
"Aggravated assaults are domestic and challenging to prevent," she said.
The total number of nonviolent crimes - burglary, theft and auto theft - fell from 1,644 over the three-month period in 2004 to 1,511 this year, according to the report.
Howard County crime
The following are first-quarter statistics for the years indicated.
Incident 2004 2005 average
Homicide 1 1 1.4
Rape 4 8 7.2
Robberies 54 58 53.2
Aggravated Assault 78 84 64.2
Totals 137 151 126
Burglary 286 234 269.6
Theft 1201 1158 1215.6
Auto Theft 157 119 139.6
Totals 1644 1511 1624.8
Source: Howard County Police Department