County crime rate drops in first half of 2012
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 11:25

Violent crime decreases, rape cases increase

by Nicole Rodman

    For the sixth year in a row, violent crime has decreased in Baltimore County.
    According to crime rate statistics for the first six months of 2012, major crime was down 8.6 percent in the first half of the year.
    Released by Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson on the county government website last month, the latest crime statistics show decreases in most part one and part two crimes.
   

Part one crimes — major offenses such as homicide, robbery and aggravated assault — were down compared with the county’s five year average.
    Beginning in 2011, county police started reporting crime statistics in comparison to the county’s five-year average.
    By comparing current crime statistics to the five-year average, rather than just the last year’s statistics, police say they can get a better sense of crime trends over time.
    “In any given year, a host of factors — weather is one of the most significant — may cause crime to spike up or down,” Johnson wrote on the Baltimore County website on Nov. 20.
    He continued, “Such short-term comparisons often do not provide a true picture of local crime. I believe we should focus on trends, on whether crime is rising or falling over the longer term.”
    In the first six months of 2012, there were only 10 homicides, as compared to the five-year average of 15 homicides annually.
    Major crimes such as burglary, theft, car theft and arson were also down.
    Bucking this trend, the number of rapes in Baltimore County increased in the first half of 2012.         There were 80 cases of rape reported in Baltimore County during the first six months of the year, up from the five-year average of 71.
    Part two crimes — such as simple assault, sex offenses, drug offenses and vandalism — were down 5.4 percent in the first six months of the year.
    As Johnson noted on the December/January edition of Police Report, in many categories crime is down to 1970s levels.
    “It’s an effective time for us in public safety,” Johnson commented.
    Aired Monday through Friday on channel 25 in Baltimore County, Police Report is the police department’s monthly report on departmental activities across the county.
    During his appearance on Police Report, Johnson also noted that county police have a higher-than-average crime clearance rate.
    A police department’s clearance rate is calculated by dividing the number of crimes that result in a charge being filed by the total number of reported crimes.
    According to Johnson, in the first six months of 2012, Baltimore County Police had a 28 percent higher clearance rate on violent crime than the national average.
    Likewise, the county’s property crime case clearance rate is more than 13 percent higher than the national average.
    Johnson attributed much
of the decline to his officers and the community in which they serve.
    As Johnson noted on this month’s Police Report, “It’s a fantastic police department and a fantastic community to serve.”
    For more information on crime rates in Baltimore County, visit the web at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/police/crime/index.html.
    To watch the December/January edition of Police Report, tune to channel 25 Monday through Friday or visit the web at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/videogallery.
    A Dundalk Eagle request for Precinct 12 crime statistics for the first half of 2012 was still pending as of press time.