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Baltimore County Now

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BCPD logoPolice Chief James Johnson

I’m pleased to announce some extremely good news for Baltimore County: Our Year End Crime Report for 2012 is finished, and these new statistics show that crime is down across Baltimore County.

It’s down overall, and it’s down in virtually every single category. Crime dropped against the previous five-year average – the best way to get an accurate picture of our crime trends. It also fell compared to 2011, in almost every category.

These are some of the best numbers I’ve seen in my career – even when you consider that crime has been falling over the past several years.

The report we released today contains official data, compiled in accordance with the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system.

Part I violent crime, the most serious types of violent crime, fell by 11.1 percent against the previous five-year average. Every category of Part I violent crime dropped except rape, which increased by a single case. Criminal homicide, robbery and aggravated assault are all down.

Part I property crime – burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson, fell by 7.9 percent against the five-year average.

Part II crimes – everything from trespass to drug offenses – fell 5.2 percent.

Overall, crime in 2012 fell by 6.7 percent against the five-year average.

Looking at our 10 precincts, crime is down in every precinct except one. Some of these precinct level decreases are astounding. In White Marsh, for example, crime fell 14 percent against the five-year average. In Woodlawn, the drop is 11.6 percent.

In Towson, we saw an increase because of an increase in certain kinds of theft –shoplifting, theft from vehicle and theft from building. In the weeks and months to come, you will see law enforcement in Towson maintain an omnipresence and work even more closely with private security, both in the downtown area and elsewhere in the retail areas, so that we can bring these theft numbers down. We are adding three additional officers to patrol the entertainment district, an enhancement that will free up a car for patrol elsewhere in the precinct.

I cannot stress enough the significance of this crime report. You would have to go back 30 years to find crime rates as low as the ones we’re seeing now. Here’s another figure: Since I became Chief of Police, six years ago, the most serious kinds of violent crime have been reduced by 26.8 percent. Meanwhile, our case clearance rates continue to be far higher than the national averages.

This success doesn’t happen by accident. I thank everyone who has contributed –    from the County Executive to our community partners to the many county agencies that support us every day. Most of all, I thank our officers, whose commitment, tenacity and expertise are the foundation of our achievements.


Baltimore County Holiday Safety TipsBaltimore County Police Captain Michael Balog, Precinct 9/White Marsh

Police departments throughout the country send out “Holiday Safety Tips” this time of year. It takes only a small amount of time and effort to secure your recent holiday purchases, your credit card information, and – most importantly – your own physical well being.

Some of the best safety tips I have heard have come from some clever people who figured out how to use common household items – and common sense – to protect themselves and their property. Here are a few of those safety tips:

  • Use remote-controlled switches that plug into an outlet as an additional light source.  You can plug more than just Christmas lights into them.  Plug in a lamp or two, and you can turn on those lights from your bedroom at night. An internet search quickly found a pack of three for under $20.
  • Old baby monitors are a good tool for detecting outside noises. Place them outside, near your doors, at night, and place the control monitor next to your bed. 

  • When you order something to be delivered to your house, you don’t want it sitting there unattended. Arrange for a neighbor to pick it up immediately after delivery if you can’t be home to get it. 

  • After opening the new electronic gizmos this holiday season, cut up the boxes and place in a black trash bag so no one can tell what nifty new items you have. Better yet, keep the boxes in your house until you have an extra moment to recycle them at a recycling dumpster at one of the County’s recycling drop off centers. 

  • Please stop telling the world that no one is at your house. Criminals use Facebook and Twitter, too.
  • Believe me, the king of some obscure country does not need your credit card number or bank account number, and he will not give you a million dollars after you first give him a few thousand dollars.  Similar scams frequently target the elderly, and often succeed. With the holiday shopping season in full swing, such scammers may become more active.
  • Bookmark our holiday crime prevention page.

Have a happy and crime-free holiday.


Baltimore County Seal

By Jim Johnson

Baltimore County Police Chief

The Baltimore County Police Department’s 2011 crime report, now available online here, takes a more comprehensive approach to crime trends than ever before.

In addition to providing year-to-year information, for the first time this report looks at five-year trends. I asked our Crime Analysis Unit to compare 2011 data with the previous five-year averages for each category of crime because I am convinced that we can’t understand whether we’re making progress in reducing crime simply by looking at the short term; we also need to look at how we’re doing over time.

A single year of crime data can be influenced significantly by weather, civil disturbances and the random – or even once-in-a-lifetime – event. We get a better picture of how we are doing when we take the longer view.

The 2011 report shows that our Police Department is fulfilling the mission of reducing crime – both in the short term and the long term.

Looking at crime numbers from 2006 to 2011, it becomes increasingly apparent that 2010 was an extremely unusual year – probably because of the February 2010 double blizzard that kept people inside for weeks. That year, every category of Part I violent and property crime fell well below levels seen from 2006 to 2009.

In 2011, total Part I violent crime dropped even more. In 2010, there were 4,305 incidents; in 2011, the number fell to 4,250. Part I property crime increased slightly.

The real news, however, is how 2011 crime levels compare to the previous five-year average. The crime totals in seven of the eight categories of Part I crime – the most serious crimes – were lower in 2011 than the previous five-year average for each category. (The exception was homicide, in which the total number of crimes equaled the five-year average.)

Looking at the five-year averages, we have reduced Part I violent crime by more than 14 percent; Part I property crime by nearly 8 percent and Part II crime by nearly 9 percent. In 2011, we drove down total crime below the previous five-year average by an impressive 9 percent.  

In addition, Baltimore County Police continue to excel at solving crimes and getting criminals off the street. Year after year, our clearance rates for Part I crime exceed the national average as determined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program; for some crimes, our clearance rates almost double the national average. We expect this pattern to continue.

When we see crime dropping over time and criminals prosecuted for their actions, we know our law enforcement strategies are working. I encourage you to join me in thanking our more than 1,900 officers and hundreds of civilian professional staff for their hard work in making the County safer, and for continuing the fight against crime into 2012 and beyond.


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