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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: crime

Promotions Accompany Reorganization of Operations Bureau

Police Chief Jim Johnson has promoted two new colonels, one to supervise the Criminal Investigations Bureau and another to supervise the Operations Bureau.

The promotions accompany a reorganization of the Police Department's existing Operations Bureau, currently comprising Patrol, the Criminal Investigations Division and Support Operations, an 1,800-member bureau. The new structure approved last week by Chief Johnson will produce two commands of more manageable size, a change designed to improve efficiency and quality of supervision. 

Evan M. Cohen, Criminal Investigations Bureau

Evan M. Cohen, 56, will serve as the Colonel in charge of the Criminal Investigations Bureau, supervising the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD) sections that investigate the most serious crimes. Cohen currently serves as the Major in charge of CID, a command to which he was appointed in 2012. A 33-year veteran of BCoPD, his career includes extensive command experience in both Patrol and Operations, as well as Internal Affairs and Human Resources.

Alexander D. Jones, Operations Bureau

Alexander D. Jones, 46, will serve as the Colonel in charge of the Operations Bureau, supervising the 10 precincts, patrol operations and all support operations. A 20-year BCoPD member, Jones currently serves as Major in charge of the Patrol Division, a command to which he was appointed in 2011. Jones has spent his career in Operations and Patrol.

Jones becomes the highest-ranking minority member in BCoPD and the second African American to hold the rank of Colonel, the second-highest rank in the police hierarchy.

Experience and Diversity

"We are fortunate in Baltimore County to have the opportunity to promote commanders of such experience and integrity," said Chief Johnson.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz expressed confidence in Cohen and Jones as leaders and noted that the promotions mark another step in the County's commitment to diversity at all ranks of its public safety agencies. "These promotions are an important move toward a police department that reflects and understands its citizenry."

photo of County Executive Kamenetz and Chief JohnsonSome Categories Have Fallen to 1980s Levels

The official statistics for 2014 show a 7.2 percent reduction in overall crime in Baltimore County, with a decline in almost every category of violent crime.

Police Chief Jim Johnson, along with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, announced this latest crime data at a press briefing this morning in Towson. (BCoPD releases crime statistics that have been certified as accurate under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. BCoPD uses the previous five-year average as a benchmark for comparison.)

“Our police department has surpassed my expectations when it comes to crime reduction,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “Some categories of crime have fallen to levels not seen since the 1980s.”

Like overall crime, Part I Crime – which includes the most serious types of violent and property crime – decreased by 7.2 percent relative to the previous five-year average. All precincts saw a reduction in Part I Crime, with Essex experiencing the greatest decrease of 11.9 percent.

Part I Violent Crime – homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – fell by 6.1 percent overall. Most notably, an 11.3 percent decrease was recorded in cases of aggravated assault. Aggravated assaults are the most serious types of assaults, often involving a weapon and often a barometer of a community’s overall  safety.

All precincts experienced a decrease in Part I Property Crime, with the total decline recorded at 7.4 percent. This includes a 15.8 percent decrease in burglaries and a 17.1 decrease in motor vehicle theft.

Total crime – including total Part 1 and 2 Crime – also declined compared to the previous calendar year, 2013.

A Strategic Approach

Chief Johnson attributed the overall decline in crime largely to a strategic approach by Baltimore County Police that involves constant monitoring of crime trends and deciding how  best to allocate resources.

“The other crucial factors,” Johnson said, “are the support of the County Executive in making sure resources are available and, of course, the talent and dedication of our detectives, patrol officers and community outreach officers.”

Natalie Litofsky, Public Safety Office of Media and Communications

photo of house in winterIf you’re planning to take a vacation this holiday season, it’s important for you to add home security to your travel safety checklist. There are simple precautions you can take to keep your home protected from both theft and damage. Just a few extra minutes spent securing your home will help give you the peace of mind to enjoy your trip.

Lock all doors and windows

While most people remember to lock the main door of the home, it’s important to check all the entry points to the house. This includes sliding doors, basement doors, and the interior door that leads to the garage. It’s also essential to lock the windows on each level of your home, not just the ground floor.

Turn off electronics

To help save on energy costs and avoid potential hazards, turn off and unplug small electronics while you’re away. Examples would be items such as a toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer or fan. Larger electronics such as computers and televisions should be plugged into a surge protector in case of sudden power loss.

Water and heat

If you live in an area where pipes are likely to freeze, it’s important to make sure your furnace stays running while you’re away. Most programmable thermostats have a “vacation mode” that will keep your home above freezing while still conserving energy. If you plan to be away for an extended period of time, you may want to consider turning off the water supply from outside your home and draining the pipes.

Perform a maintenance check

Check to be sure there are fresh batteries in your smoke detectors. Make sure that exterior lights have working bulbs to keep the property illuminated at night, and use a timer to turn them on and off. You should also prepare for the possibility of snow while you’re on vacation. Arrange for someone to shovel your walkways and driveway while you’re out of town. Not only is this important for the safety of your neighbors, but it also prevents would-be burglars from knowing the home is not occupied.

Notify a neighbor

Tell a trusted neighbor the dates you’re leaving and returning home. If they know you’re out of town, they’ll be more likely to notice and report suspicious activity. If you’ll be away for more than a day, ask if they’re willing to collect your mail and newspapers. A pile of unclaimed mail is a red flag for would-be thieves that nobody is home. If there is no one available to collect your mail, you can also speak with the post office about stopping mail delivery for the duration of your trip.

Don’t broadcast your location

Social media sites are great ways to keep in touch with friends and family, but they’re also great tools for burglars to use in choosing targets. Don’t post photos or statements that would let someone know that you’re away from home. You should also refrain from using a location “check-in” app that places you out of town. If you want to keep in touch with a friend or family member while you’re away, do so using a more private form of communication such as an email or text message.

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