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Baltimore County Now

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: public safety

Seeks gains in education, transportation and public safety

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced Baltimore County’s legislative priorities for this year’s General Assembly session that begins tomorrow in Annapolis.

"In consultation with our County's senators and delegates, along with the leadership of the General Assembly, we have crafted important legislative initiatives that will greatly benefit the citizens of Baltimore County and the region," said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.  "We will work hard to make gains in education, transportation, and public safety, and I look forward to a productive 90 day session in Annapolis." 

Baltimore County

Legislative Priorities 2016

  • Advance State funding share for school renovation and construction

    • BCPS has requested $133 million in state matching funds that would be used to add seats, renovate and build new schools, and air condition every County school by 2019.

  • Seek full funding for Countys $64.4 million transportation request

    • The County requests that the State invest in regional mass transit alternatives, make traffic improvements in Owings Mills and Sparrows Point, and provide community development opportunities with streets, streetscapes, and sidewalk improvements. Requests on State roadways include:

    •  Extension of Security Boulevard to Johnnycake Road

    •  Widening and raising of the road from Mohrs Lane to Campbell Boulevard

    •  Construction of a sidewalk on Kenwood Avenue from Lillian Holt Road to Hazelwood Avenue

    •  Creation of a center lane boulevard on Liberty Road between Rolling Road and Courtleigh Drive

    •  Improvements to Frederick Road, (MD 144) from Prospect Avenue to Briarwood Road

    •  Improvements to Eastern Avenue (MD 150) from Mace Avenue to MD 702 as well as relocation of the MARC station on Eastern Avenue

  • Request mandatory minimum statewide staffing levels for social worker caseloads

    • Baltimore County’s average annual caseload per DSS employee is 842 while the State median is 700. The County requests additional state funding to reach the median workload.

  • Ensure that the State fulfill its remaining $1.5 million commitment for the Eastern Family Resource Center

    • Based on the State’s prior commitment, the County broke ground on a $26 million shelter, transitional family housing, and health and vocational services facility utilizing $16 million in County funds, $5 million from Medstar Health and $5 million from the State. The $1.5 million will fulfill the State’s commitment.

  • Secure State support for the following capital projects:

    • Clarify bond language permitting State funds to be allocated for Angel Park in Perry Hall.

    • Receive $500,000 in matching capital funding for roundabout at the intersection of Tufton and Greenspring Roads in historic Worthington Valley.

Key Legislative Issues

  • Advocate for restoration of $68 million in GCEI funding in the current fiscal year, restoring Baltimore County’s share of $2.9 million.

  • Work closely with Speaker Busch and President Miller on policies that stimulate the economy in the Baltimore region.

  • Work with the environmental community in its effort to increase Maryland’s renewable energy portfolio, bringing jobs to the State.

  • Address key issues related to use of police-worn body cameras.

  • Support statewide efforts to combat substance abuse.

  • Support legislative efforts to reform Maryland’s criminal justice system.

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.”

Walk Safe logo Lt. Steve Troutman, Baltimore County Police Crash Team Leader

 Battalion Chief Jennifer Utz,  Baltimore County Fire Department

  Now that summer is here, people are getting out and about more. Sadly, the beautiful    June weather means more people will be seriously hurt - or killed - just crossing the street.

It’s not usually who you think, or for the reasons you think…

There are some common misconceptions when it comes to pedestrian crashes. Most people tend to assume that the crash is caused by the person behind the wheel. That is normally NOT the case. Plus, it’s more often an adult rather than a child who is struck.

In fact, 80% of these incidents are actually caused by the pedestrian. Many of these fatal crashes are results of:

·        Failure to walk in crosswalks or obey crosswalk signals

·        Distracted walking

·        Failure to look both ways

·        Wearing dark clothing while walking at night

You might be even more surprised to know that 60% of those killed last year in pedestrian-vehicle crashes were over the age of 40. That’s right, we’re not just talking about distracted students or young children; most pedestrian infractions are committed by adults.

Tragically, in recent years, Baltimore County is experiencing a significant increase in the number of serious pedestrian crashes. Each year, the Baltimore County Police and Fire Departments respond to about 420 pedestrian-vehicle crashes - that’s more than one accident every day, on average! In 2013, the number of fatal crashes in Baltimore County increased more than in the last five years.

Though pedestrian related crashes are prevalent throughout Baltimore County, there are particular areas where rates are higher, such as Liberty Road in Randallstown, York Road in Towson, and Merritt Boulevard in Dundalk.  Each of these areas has high volumes of traffic, which can result in greater chances of injury. There are also large numbers of pedestrian crashes near bus stops, as pedestrians can sometimes focus more on making the bus or rushing home than on their own safety.

With the drastic increase in pedestrian accidents in the last few years, Baltimore County is launching a “Heads Up! Walk Safe” public awareness campaign, focusing on four simple reminders:

·        Obey the Law: always cross at a crosswalk or intersection

·        Avoid Distractions: put away the cell phones and other electronic devices while crossing

·        Be Visible: when walking or running at night, wear bright colors

·        Be Aware: be mindful of your surroundings and know when a vehicle is approaching

Find out more on the County’s Walk Safe web page. On behalf of our fellow first responders, please walk safely and don’t be our next crash victim!

Edited by Justin Tucker, Baltimore County Office of Communications Intern

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