Feb. 24-Part I crimes decreased by nearly 20 percent locally in 2020, according to the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and Maryland State Police, Frederick Barrack.
2020 represented the seventh consecutive year of significant reductions in this crime category, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said in a prepared statement.
Part I crimes are a category of serious offenses defined by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and adapted by the FBI.
Locally, these offenses - including homicide, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, theft and vehicle theft - decreased by nearly 300 from 2019 to 2020, which equates to a decrease of 1.86 crimes committed per 1,000 Frederick County residents, the sheriff's office said.
"The citizens of this county should be pleased with this continual decrease and [it] reinforces the fact this is a very safe county to live in," Jenkins said in a statement.
By agency, the sheriff's office experienced a decrease of 18 percent, while the Frederick Barrack saw crime drop by 30 percent. These agencies serve the areas of Frederick County that don't have their own municipal police forces, though they often collaborate with local police.
"It is rewarding to see the decrease in crime given the increase in population and the influx of people traveling through Frederick County," Lt. Stephen Johnson, MSP Frederick Barrack commander, said in a statement. Johnson took command in January.
Jenkins attributed the downward turn in crime to a few factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic leading to the closure of businesses and keeping more people inside their homes.
He also credited police for what he described as effective apprehension of repeat, known offenders.
The sheriff said deputies have been focusing patrol in areas where residents experienced criminal activity.
Of the named Part I offenses, each decreased except for homicides, which increased from 1 in 2019 to 5 in 2020, for both jurisdictions combined. Rapes decreased from 23 to 15, robberies dropped from 28 to 21, aggravated assault dipped from 188 to 138, burglaries went from 191 to 125, thefts decreased from 1,065 to 915, and vehicle thefts went from 61 to 40 for both agencies.
Jenkins acknowledged the dip in crime is consistent with what other police agencies have experienced. Frederick Police Department, for instance, recently reported a five-year low violent crime rate for 2020.
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