Crime figures holding steady

Small increases, decreases are noted in annual report by Howard County police

March 10, 2006|By MELISSA HARRIS | MELISSA HARRIS,SUN REPORTER

Although the number of crimes in Howard County rose slightly last year when compared with 2004, crime rates held steady and no one category showed significant change, according to the Police Department's annual report released yesterday.

"The fluctuations from 2004 to 2005 are small both in increases and decreases," said Sherry Llewellyn, a spokeswoman for Howard County police. "Because this report doesn't show us anything particularly dramatic, it doesn't give us an indication that we need to change the way we do business right now."

The FBI dictates what types of crimes are included in the report. The statistics reflect reported crimes.

Homicides rose from one in 2004 to four last year, rapes from 40 to 42, and robberies from 223 to 262. The number of burglaries and thefts increased, but car thefts dropped to their lowest level since 2001. In general, there were fewer crimes in 2005 than there were in 2001, according to the report.

Police received 2,858 fewer calls for service in 2005 than they did in 2004 - despite a growth in population of more than 4,000.

At a recent community meeting in Columbia's Long Reach village, residents expressed confusion over when they should call 911 or the county's nonemergency line in reporting an incident, or whether they should call police at all. Several said that they had spotted loitering or suspicious activity in their neighborhoods but never called police.

"We always encourage people to call us and at least let us come out and take a look," Llewellyn said.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

CRIME DATA

A snapshot of Howard County crime statistics since 2004:

Homicide 2004: 1 2005: 4

Rape 2004: 40 2005: 42

Robbery 2004: 223 2005: 262

Total Violent Crime 2004: 608 2005: 609

Violent Crime Rate* 2004: 225.32 2005: 222.28 Statewide 2005: 699.57

Total Property Crime 2004: 6,819 2005: 7,146

Property Crime Rate* 2004: 2,527.02 2005: 2,608.18 Statewide 2005: 3,635.14

Total Offenses 2004: 18,346 2005: 18,737 Change: 2.13%

Total Calls for Service 2004: 121,165 2005: 118,307 Adult Arrests 2004: 4,986 2005: 4,890 Change: -1.93%

Juvenile Arrests 2004: 1,944 2005: 1,941 Change: -0.15%

*Per 100,000 people

[ Source: Howard County Police]

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