Low Homicide Rates, High Case Clearance Success For Baltimore County

Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson
Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson

While Baltimore City was garnering national attention for its staggering murder rate in 2013, Baltimore County was quietly becoming one of the safest areas in the region.

In 2013, the county saw 19 homicides — 14 of which the department said involved people who knew each other — bringing the 2010-2013 homicide rates to the lowest point the area has seen over any four-year span since the late 1970s.

Additionally, the Baltimore County Police Department currently has some of the best violent crime case clearance rates in the country, something that earned the department a mention in the U.S. Department of Justice’s publication on best practices last fall.

“Baltimore County is safer than it has ever been,” County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced at a Dec. 3 news conference at the Public Safety Building in Towson.

While managing to operate at or below budget for the past five years, the county has earned a reputation for its high rate of case completion, added Police Chief James Johnson.

When a criminal is convicted and sent to prison, said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, “they’re not out there to re-offend.”

Shomrim’s Ronnie Rosenbluth said he is impressed with the department’s work.

With a recent spike in burglaries in part of the area Shomrim covers, Rosenbluth has heard from neighbors that they are happy to be seeing more of a police presence than ever before. And in addition to offering classes on community safety, Rosenbluth explained, “the county gave Shomrim a map of the area that we should focus on.”

“Once you have something working with an organization, you just keep to it,” said Rosenbluth. “I’m very impressed with the county police and the Pikesville precinct.”

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