Crime reported up slightly in first half of '05

September 07, 2005|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Crime in Howard County rose slightly in the first six months of this year, compared with the same period last year, but rapes and motor vehicle thefts were near their lowest level for any similar period in the past five years, according to police statistics released yesterday.

Between January and March, violent crimes - murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults - increased to 297 incidents from 271 in the same period last year. Property crimes rose to 3,450 from 3,251 during the same period. Two homicides had been reported.

"Our numbers are relatively consistent," said police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn. "There's no great increase or decrease."

Police arrested 6 percent fewer adults in the first six months of this year than in the corresponding period last year, but 12 percent more in the sub-category of violent crime. Juvenile arrests overall rose 9 percent.

Law enforcement experts warn people to be skeptical of crime statistics because they reflect only reported crimes.

"Long-term data - from year to year - is more useful in spotting trends," Llewellyn said.

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