by Police Chief James Johnson
Statistics for the first half of 2012 show crime in each of the County’s 10 precincts trending downward.
Data provided by our Crime Analysis Unit show that Part I crimes – the most serious crimes – decreased by 8.6 percent during the first six months of this year compared to the previous five-year average for the same time period. Total crime – Part I and Part II – declined by 5.4 percent from the previous five-year average.
Before we get into the details, a word about how we look at crime statistics in Baltimore County: In 2011, we began comparing current crime data against the previous five-year average rather than against the previous year. In any given year, a host of factors – weather is one of the most significant – may cause crime to spike up or down. 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, Part I violent crime decreased by 348 cases from the previous five-year average for the same period. There were 1,942 violent crimes in the first six months of the year, down from the previous five-year average of 2,290.
Part I property crime decreased by 898 cases; there were 11,268 Part I property crimes from January through June, compared to 12,166 for the previous five-year average. That is a 7.4 percent decrease from the previous five-year average.
Rape, which increased by nine cases, from 71 to 80, is the only category of Part I violent crime that exceeded the previous five-year average during the first six months of the year. The other types of violent crime all dropped:
- Homicide decreased by five cases, from 15 to 10
- Robbery decreased by 88 cases, from 726 to 638
- Aggravated assault decreased by 264 cases, from 1,478 to 1,214
All categories of Part I property crime compared favorably to the previous five-year average:
- Burglary decreased by 70 cases, from 2,033 to 1,963.
- Theft decreased by 356 cases, from 8,823 to 8,467.
- Motor vehicle theft decreased by 446 cases, from 1,172 to 726.
- Arson decreased by 26 cases, from 138 to 112.
Total Part I crime – violent crime and property crime – for the first six months of 2012 decreased by 1,246 cases, from 14,456 to 13,210, when compared to the previous five-year average.
Part II crime also declined during the first half of the year. Part II crime includes simple assaults, sex offenses, drug violations, vandalism and many other crimes. During the first half of 2012, Part II crime declined by 509 cases, from 17,862 to 17,353.
In addition, our clearance rates for Part I crime continue to exceed the national average as determined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting System. This means we are solving crimes and getting criminals off the street.
I am always cautiously optimistic when providing positive crime news such as this.
Optimistic, because we know we truly are making Baltimore County safer when data over a five-year period shows declines in almost every category of crime. Cautious, because human nature cannot be controlled.
We have an extraordinary team of personnel committed to public safety. We are focused on crime prevention and reduction, using technology and partnerships to continue the great crime reductions we have experienced over the last several years.
As always, we will look closely at the next set of crime statistics to see if the downward trend holds. The never-ending work of determining the best strategies to keep Baltimore County safe continues.