Carroll crime fell 5 percent overall in '04

Rape, robbery, car theft up

residents' aid sought

July 03, 2005|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Crime dropped 5 percent overall in Carroll County in 2004, according to state police, whose resident troopers serve as the county's primary law enforcement agency.

Figures collected from all the county police agencies showed an overall drop, but there were increases in some categories, including rape, robbery and motor vehicle theft, said Lt. A. Dean Richardson.

Noting a surge in vandalism in the past month, Richardson asked that residents call the police if they see or hear things.

A preliminary report that lists only serious crime categories in the counties and statewide was prepared April 14 by the state police. The figures show a 2.7 percent decrease for Carroll from 2003 to 2004 in the seven categories of serious crime: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, breaking and entering, theft and motor vehicle theft.

Richardson said that when both serious and minor categories are combined, "it equals a 5 percent decrease in crime."

He said that last month brought a rash of complaints of vandalism, with 65 reports from residents primarily from Westminster to South Carroll. The Carroll County Sheriff's Office and town police have reported similar problems.

"We've had a tremendous increase in destruction-of-property crimes," Richardson said, with vehicles being the primary targets.

"You have kids driving down the road in the middle of the night when it's dark and destroying people's property with paintball guns, BBs, rocks, and pulling mailboxes up, destroying mailboxes ... petty crimes that are aggravating.

"A couple of times, people heard something in the middle of the night but didn't call us," Richardson said.

"We can solve a homicide easier than these things," he said. "It's just a spur-of-the-moment thing, in my opinion - teenagers who have gotten out of school and are driving around. ... Kids don't have anything to do and are out at 3 in the morning doing this stuff."

Major Thomas H. Long of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office agreed that "the majority of vandalism is juvenile, and it goes along with the warmer weather, and daylight hours are longer and schools closing."

Thefts from vehicles left unlocked also have increased recently, usually involving items such as CDs, although some people leave valuables such as wallets and purses, Long said.

"Fortunately, there's no real serious events," he said. "People just have to be more cautious."

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