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Balt. Co. February police crime data show overall crime down from January, but some armed robberies more brazen

A review of Baltimore County Police Department’s police crime blotters from the county’s 10 police precincts reveals a roughly 14 percent decline in the county’s overall crime between January and February.

During the first month of this year, police responded to calls related to 185 confirmed crimes committed across the county, according to the police blotters. In February, those numbers dropped to 160 confirmed crime incidents.

The county, however, has failed to provide any of its raw crime numbers when requested. In lieu of raw statistics, figures retrieved from public sources were relied upon for analysis. However, rape and sexual assault data have not been included in the January or February numbers since the police department has not released them despite requests for the data by this publication.

Additionally, assaults that occurred during robberies or other crimes do not appear to have been counted as separate and distinct crimes. Homicides were compiled using data found on the county’s iWatch Public Safety News site.

Of note is a 34 percent drop in armed robberies, while some of those robberies were more violent or brazen in the month of February.

For instance, on Feb. 12 in Towson, three unknown suspects entered an IHOP restaurant just after 6:00 am where two of the three suspects displayed firearms and robbed victims of cash before fleeing.

At around 7:30 pm on Feb. 14 in Gwynn Oak, two suspects approached a victim sitting in a vehicle, smashing the car’s windows with hammers. The suspects then used the hammers to strike the victim in the head several times before robbing him.

And just after 8:00 pm on Feb. 19, officers responded to a call for a residential burglary in Woodlawn where two suspects forced their way into a victim’s home, then hit her with a hammer as they robbed her.

However, carjackings went down in the month of February. While only two occurred last month in the county – both in White Marsh – it was a reduction from the nine carjackings – and one attempted carjacking – which occurred across six of the county’s 10 police precincts during the first month of this year.

The most notable decreases occurred in Pikesville and Parkville precincts, where the districts’ overall crime was slashed in half – or more than half – between January and February, showing six incidences occurring in Pikesville and eight in Parkville which, last month, showed 12 and 17 incidents of crime, respectively. One of the county’s four February homicides, however, occurred in Parkville.

And Dundalk, which led the county in crime in January, showed a nearly 37% reduction in crime incidents between the two months.

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January’s crime data can be found here. To compare the two months, the charts can be viewed together here.

Driving Down Baltimore County Crime

A bill, designed to deter crime and assist officers in their efforts to solve active cases, passed unanimously by the Baltimore County Council on Monday. All members of the council sponsored the bipartisan legislation.

Baltimore County residents can now voluntarily register the whereabouts of their security cameras, which will allow detectives to locate the availability of private citizens’ public and private facing cameras faster when seeking details on suspects.

The cameras cannot capture private property not belonging to camera owners. Those wishing to volunteer the location of their surveillance equipment can do so by contacting the Office of Budget and Finance or through a form that will be placed on the county’s website.

Councilman Julian Jones, a Woodstock Democrat, said the measure will save lives. Jones noted, in particular, that information vital to locating suspects involved in kidnapping cases could be expedited since officers will have information readily available on the location of residents’ security cameras and where footage can be used to piece together details about suspects who are on the run.

“When every minute counts, when every second counts, it will be very beneficial…” Jones said. “It will be very beneficial for officers pulling up to know what cameras are down the street, what cameras are up the street, what cameras are around the corner, without having to physically go there and knock on the door and see if somebody’s home and see if they have a camera.”

As it stands, officers have to comb through neighborhoods – sometimes in the dark – seeking properties which have security cameras.  The voluntary disclosure – which will be effective on March 16 and gives residents up to six months in which to register their cameras with the county, will provide information on the location of private security cameras from which video footage could assist officers in their investigations.

Of the legislation, Pikesville Democrat Councilman Izzy Patoka said, “I believe that crime doesn’t go down randomly, nor does it go down or up because of weather; it has to be driven down.” He said, “And this initiative will help to drive down crime in Baltimore County and allow our law enforcement partners to be most efficient in their time in driving down crime.”
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