Baltimore County Now
Some 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.”
Baseball Field, Tot Lot Playground, Picnic Pavilion Added
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz joined community leaders to celebrate completion of the Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center complex. A new tot lot playground, picnic pavilion and baseball field now surround the popular community center. This third phase, at a cost of $360,000, completes the complex, which serves the Turner Station-Watersedge area.
“This center truly captures the spirit of Turner Station, Watersedge and surrounding communities. Sollers Point is a place where young and old can enjoy the public library, take a class, play sports, and meet friends and neighbors for a picnic or special event. There’s even a history center that celebrates the area’s rich heritage,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
The community center complex includes a full-service library branch, gymnasium, auditorium/banquet hall, classrooms, basketball and tennis courts and the new baseball diamond, picnic pavilion and tot lot. A 28,900 square foot, environmentally friendly multi-purpose building sits on 13 landscaped acres.
Mary Harvey Commemorated
The County Executive, community and family members also unveiled a memorial plaque and stone that commemorates the community leadership of the late Mary Harvey, who served as Director of the former Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation. Ms. Harvey worked tirelessly for decades to help bring about positive changes in communities countywide, and in particular was a driving force in the creation of the Sollers Point community center.
Fourth Year in a Row
For the fourth year in a row, Baltimore County is ranked among the top 10 counties in the nation in terms of aligning technology initiatives with executive strategic priorities to provide vital cost savings and administrative efficiencies, according to the Center for Digital Government’s 13th annual 2015 Digital Counties Survey in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo).
“This award is considered one of the top measures of government technology performance and we are proud and delighted that we are, once again, rated among the best of the best throughout the country in terms of using technology to make government work smarter,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This award really spotlights the remarkable skill and dedication of our technology staff and our employees throughout County government as we work to enhance our efficiency and deliver excellent service and smart government to the people of Baltimore County.”
Among the nation’s counties that participated, Baltimore County’s Office of Information Technology earned the 7th place ranking in the category for counties with 500,000 or more population. NACo and Digital Government leaders have emphasized that this award testifies to the success of counties’ use of technology to serve citizens.
The County’s high ranking was based on a number of factors, including these highlights:
- enhanced citizen engagement through responsive and intuitive design of the County’s home page to help the website’s 4.6 million annual visitors easily find what they need
- active social media outreach that provides real-time information
- the County’s Operational Excellence initiative that fosters continuous improvement of business processes through technology
- centralizing data to enhance security and functionality
- providing technology platforms to improve field operations
- coordination of technology assets between the County government and public library system
- development of the “One View” public school security and surveillance system
About the Digital Counties Survey
The Digital Counties Survey is hosted by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. This organization also provides government, education and industry leaders with decision support, research and educational services to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. This survey is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to county governments.