For three years in a row, serious crime has declined in Carroll County, according to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department.
The county also leads the state with the lowest serious crime rate among 23 other counties, according to the 2011 Crimes in Maryland report.
The report said the rate of 1.61 serious crimes per 100,000 residents reporting in 2011 is the lowest rate since 1975 and the lowest among other counties.
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Incidents of murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and motor vehicle thefts all decreased in Carroll County since 2010, according to the report.
Robbery incidents from 2010 to 2011 remain unchanged at 40, officials said.
Drug arrests increased in Carroll County from 2010 to 2011, according to the report.
A total of 640 were arrested for drug offenses in 2010 in Carroll County, compared to 692 in 2011, data shows.
Major Phillip Kasten, with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, said the declining crime numbers are likely a result of determined citizens, a strong police presence and a judiciary/local government that holds offenders accountable.
"The judiciary and county government have taken a strong position in working to facilitate addiction treatment and implement work programs or sentencing alternatives that hold minor offenders accountable in an effort to reduce recidivism," Kasten said.
Approximately two-thirds of local offenders are incarcerated for substance abuse crime or a petty theft committed to support a substance abuse habit, according to Kasten.
"Government leaders, the judiciary, public health and our local Detention Center acknowledge that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem and have begun to focus efforts on the causes of crime," Kasten said.
Overall, crime in Maryland decreased 5 percent from 2010 to 2011, while violent crime decreased 9 percent, according to the report.
In total, Carroll County saw a 8.8 percent drop in its serious crime rate from 2010 to 2011, according to the report.
Kasten encouraged residents to be vigilant about thefts, even amid encouraging data.
"While declining economic conditions have historically been followed by increasing crime rates, we’ve not yet experienced that on a large scale," Kasten said. "However, it’s naïve to ignore history’s lessons in this regard; residents must remain vigilant in reducing criminal opportunities and reporting suspicious circumstances."
Sheriff’s officials offered the following tips to residents to protect themselves from theft:
- Roll-up car windows, lock car doors and remove valuables from sight when leaving a vehicle unattended.
- Close garages and lock sheds. It reduces the opportunity for crime to occur while increasing the likelihood would-be thieves will be seen or heard.
- Residents are also asked to report unfamiliar vehicles and persons roaming neighborhoods and parking lots to law enforcement by calling 911. Reports of information that is not in-progress may be made anonymously using the toll free anonymous TIPS Hotline at 1-888-399-TIPP (8477), or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.