"Yes, those numbers would definitely get my attention," he said in an email, adding that he wondered if there had been a change in how officials report crimes, whether citizens were reporting more or if crime had actually increased.
County and city police officials say there's been no change in how they report crimes. But in recent years, Cumberland police have encouraged residents to be more vigilant, and Grim contends that has led to more reports.
Police say analysis of crime reports helps them put more officers into emerging hot spots. Lately, that has involved pursuing burglars and people stealing from cars, some spurred by abuse of illegal or prescription drugs.
From spring to early last month, Cumberland police pursued a group of 12 to 15 young people who called themselves "The Best Crew Ever." They wandered the city, looking for unlocked cars and grabbing what they could. Such "crimes of opportunity" also occur when residents leave their doors open, police say.
Police can tell when prices for scrap copper and other metals rise by the increase in reports of thefts of pipe and wire, often from vacant houses and utility lines.
"There's no serial numbers on a string of copper wire," said Cumberland police Lt. David Biser, making it an attractive target.
This summer, Cumberland police traced about 30 home break-ins to a drug dealer who was accepting televisions and jewelry in exchange for heroin and cocaine. They're still looking for the dealer, but they did arrest someone accused of stealing a 32-inch, flat-screen TV from his brother to support a drug habit.
Sgt. Wayne Sibley, an Allegany sheriff's deputy who just returned to patrol duty after nine years in a county drug task force, recalled one dealer who liked getting paid in lump crab meat. It's not clear whether thefts of crab went up or if addicts were stealing other things to pay for it.
Sibley said addicts describe their drug habits in terms of dollars per day, sometimes $200 or $300. They rarely have steady jobs, so the money for drugs has to come from somewhere else.
Contrary to a stereotype of rural drug abuse, Sibley said, Allegany does not have a problem with methamphetamine; it's prescription drugs, marijuana, crack and powder cocaine, and heroin.
Herb Howard, a co-owner of Western Maryland Recovery Services in Cumberland, said the drug treatment clinic opened in 2006 in response to rising demand. The link to poor job opportunities is clear enough, he said.
"We see it as an economic problem rather than a drug problem," said Howard, whose clinic — one of two in the county treating addicts with drugs such as methadone and Suboxone — serves about 200 people at any given time. "An idle mind is the devil's playground."
Officials and residents often voice suspicions that local crime is made worse by the presence of a federal prison and two state facilities that have opened near Cumberland since the mid-1990s. Taken together, the prisons can house about 4,000 men.
But there's little evidence that the prisons bring more crime to Cumberland, said Biser, the department's criminal supervisor. He studied the question in 2007, shortly before the North Branch Correctional Institution opened as a maximum-security state prison, and found that just 1 percent of the released state prisoners settled in the area, and few arrests could be traced to former prisoners, their friends or relatives.
The state prisons do have an impact on crime statistics, because killings and assaults there are recorded as county crimes. That is not the case for the federal prison.
North Branch sits next to the Western Correctional Institution off Route 220 south of Cumberland, on land that was once home to the county's largest employer, the Celanese Corp. At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, the textiles manufacturer employed 10,000 people.
Employment shrank to about 2,000 before the company moved out in 1983, the second of three major blows to the area jobs market in a decade. Pittsburgh Plate Glass had moved out in 1977, taking more than 1,600 jobs, and Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. ended its manufacturing operation in 1987, closing its corporate offices shortly after.
Allegany still counts about 2,400 residents working in manufacturing and points to recent expansions of several facilities. However, no one claims that the county has fully recovered from the losses of the 1970s and 1980s.
"It's a very tough time," said Courtney A. Thomas, executive director of the Allegany County Human Resources Commission, which coordinates an array of social-service programs. She said the homeless shelters that once saw seasonal peaks and valleys are now full or nearly so year-round, and demand for social services is up at a time when government support is threatened. The crime statistics, she said, are indicative of "people being desperate because of the economy."