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.”
New Approach Emphasizes that Community Relations is Every Officer's Responsibility
Crime prevention, police partnerships, outreach and public safety education to schools, communities and all segments of our society are the responsibility of every single Baltimore County police officer, said Chief Jim Johnson in announcing a departmental reorganization. The reorganization will further enhance and build upon the agency’s long-standing and a very successful community policing program.
In the past, Johnson said the department’s Community Resources Bureau was separate from the Operations Bureau, leading some officers to feel that building community relationships and working with young people was the primary responsibility of the Community Resources Bureau, or the work of outreach teams in individual precincts.
“Especially in today’s environment, this mind set must change in public safety”, Johnson said. “Our effectiveness rests on the confidence of people we serve. It is critical that we enhance programming and build confidence and relationships with our younger citizens, organizations and all communities in our great County. This is every officer’s business. This is every officer’s role and responsibility – from the Chief all the way to the officers and professional staff members of what I believe is the finest police department in America.”
Effective immediately, the Safe Schools Section, which manages the School Resource Officer program and is liaison to Baltimore County Public Schools, will report to the Operations Bureau, Patrol Division. This will provide better clarity of communication, and coordination of investigations, tactics and procedures to further enhance the safety of our students, faculty and staff that work in our exceptional school system.
A new Youth & Community Resources Section will comprise a Counseling Team, Youth Initiatives and a new Community Partnership Team. This Section will become part of the Operations Bureau reporting to the Operations Commander.
Ten officers assigned to the Juvenile Offenders in Need of Supervision (J.O.I.N.S.) will be reassigned from Police Headquarters to the ten precincts county -wide, allowing families and children in the J.O.I.N.S. Program more convenient, closer to home, police visits and interaction, as well as counseling.
Baltimore County’s very successful and valued Auxiliary Police Program, in which volunteers provide traffic control and other basic operational support to sworn officers, will become part of the Operations Bureau, Support Operations Division.
With this reorganization, the agency will operate under two Bureaus, which will no doubt enhance communications, expedite police response and coordination of crime prevention, community policing and outreach, investigation and patrol services, as well as provide the most robust youth, crime prevention, counseling, and education resources available.
Crews Installing Major Water Line
Beginning this evening, Towsontown Boulevard between York Road and Virginia Avenue will be closed for one week while utility crews install a major water line through Towson. The closures will be between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
East-bound traffic will be detoured onto York Road, Chesapeake Avenue, and Virginia Avenue. West-bound traffic will be detoured to Virginia Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and York.