Weekly Towson crime report being revamped; information from all precincts now available

March 29, 2012|By Peter Hermann

All Baltimore County Sgt. Stephen Fink wanted to do was inform the people in the Towson area about crime in their neighborhood. He distributed a weekly crime report that summarized burglaries, arrests and other incidents that residents clamor for.

Then, in 2009, he was told to stop sending out the information because it in addition to getting in the hands of homeowners, it was also getting into the hands of the media. A department spokesman at the time quickly restored the service, to both the media and the residents.

Earlier this year, Fink was again told to stop sending out the information, this time because some of appeared to be a bit too detailed for the liking of detectives. Headquarters wanted a more uniform approach, with information vetted by public affairs.

After I wrote about the issue again (read blog post), department commanders again retracted their orders and Fink resumed sending out his reports. Now, it's happened again. But this time police say they've found a way to post similar information on the websites of all nine county precincts.

So, on one hand, now all county residents will benefit from what Fink started, and previously had only been available to people in the Towson area. But a glance at the list of crime posted in Towson is much shorter than what Fink had sent out, and because the information is vetted by commanders, one can only wonder what might be missing. The county iWatch site, designed for breaking news, is often days or weeks behind in posting crimes.

Here's the new crime list for Towson.

Here is what was sent out to Towson residents about the new initiative:

Captain [Jonathon] Trentzsch and Sgt Fink,

Effective immediately I will not be forwarding you the Weekly Incident Report for Towson Precinct as the Baltimore County Police Department has developed a new means to distribute information to all Citizens of Baltimore County regarding crime trends, issues and other information concerning current activities in the County.

Each Precinct in Baltimore County will have their crime reports, current events and public affairs issues posted on their own web site after review by the Media Relations Section thus ensuring that the proper information is distributed in a uniform fashion throughout the County. Realizing that this change will take time to adjust to we are always looking for feedback/suggestions to improve the site, making it as user-friendly and efficient as possible. Please feel free to forward your thoughts on this page to the Department's Media Relations or to us here at the Precinct 6 Community Outreach Team. 

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