Baltimore County Homicides Decrease by 35 Percent

Police chief says sharp decrease is not an anomaly.

UPDATED (2:07 p.m.)—Baltimore County officials attributed a nearly 36 percent decrease in homicides last year to good police work, better technology and aggressive prosecutions.

Chief Jim Johnson, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger announced the decrease in homicides during a Monday news conference at the county Public Safety Building in Towson.

The 20 homicides recorded last year were nearly 36 percent less than the 31 killings in 2009 and 50 percent less than 2005, when the county recorded 40 killings.

Johnson said he believes better technology and law enforcement are getting criminals off the streets. Shellenberger said successful prosecutions are putting more criminals behind bars.

The two efforts have led to what Johnson said was a prevention of murders in the county.

Of the 20 homicides last year, police have solved 17. Johnson said detectives continue to actively investigate the remaining three.

Baltimore County homicides 2005-2010 (Source: Baltimore County Police Department.)

Year Homicides Change % Change 2005 40 11 37.9 2006 34 -6 -15 2007 36 2 5.9 2008 30 -6 -16.7 2009 31 1 3.3 2010 20 -11 -35.5


"When you're solving 80 to 85 percent of your homicides and we're getting convictions, that means they're locked up and won't commit another crime," Shellenberger said. "As you know, a very small number of individuals commit the majority of crime in this state."

The reduction in homicides is part of a nearly four-year downward trend in the county. Last year, county officials said some crime rates were at their lowest points since the 1970s.

"In recent years, Baltimore County has experienced historic lows in crimes, and the trend has not abated," Kamenetz said.

It's also lower than the 34 killings on average between 2005 and 2009, according to county police statistics.

Over the previous six years, the county has averaged about 34 murders a year with 40 in 2005 being the most during that period. Last year's totals are the lowest.

Johnson said there's no reason to believe the county's murder rate won't stabilize, rather than go back up.

"I don't think it is (an anomaly)," Johnson said, adding that there are currently only five homicides in the county so far this year—the same number at this time in 2010.

Johnson also said there is something else at work in the county.

"I say there's something else at play here in our county," Johnson said. However, he didn't elaborate.

Robert E Latshaw Jr March 29, 2011 at 10:45 AM
Congratulations and Thank You to Chief Johnson & State's Attorney Shellenberger for a job well done. Baltimore County is very fortunate to have such capable and dedicated professionals as are our Police Chief & State's Attorney. Human nature oft times causes many Baltimore Countians to forget or not pay much attention to what is going on until there is a crisis situation that sparks our attention. These positive statistical announcements give us all pause to reflect for a moment on what a great county in which Baltimore County is to live. Robert E. Latshaw, Jr. Baltimore County Economic Development Commission
Buzz Beeler March 29, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Robert, everything was fine until the sign off. Interestingly why they did not compare the first quarter of this years stats with 2010. No sooner than the announcement is made, there's another homicide. My source tells me the crime stats are up. That great county you speak of has more issues than you can "shake a stick at," as the saying goes. I guess that's why, at least in my day, they called HQ the "puzzle palace."
Buzz Beeler March 31, 2011 at 12:16 AM
Speaking of homicides here's another one in data base. Notice how forthcoming the information was? In the land of spin this kind of coverage makes one dizzy. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-hermann-killing-york-road-20110329,0,152894.story
Bill Goodman February 01, 2013 at 02:27 PM
So let me get this straight. Jimmy Johnson is touting how safe Baltimore County is under his watch, but travels to Washington to tell Congress how he has witnessed an "explosion of gun violence". So which is it JJ? You are obviously caught speaking out of both sides this time. Maybe county residence will wake up and demand a TRUE, HONEST profession Chief of Police


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