Baltimore County Touts Lowest Homicide Rate In Decades

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BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County officials tout some historically low homicide rates. Detectives also have been closing more cases recently than they have in years.

Gigi Barnett reports on the new crime stats.

A decades low homicide rate and more cases solved than in the last four years. The last time Baltimore County detectives saw those crime numbers, Jimmy Carter was in the White House.

“You have to go back to 1976 to 1979 to find a four-year period with an equal number of homicides compared to the past four years,” said Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson.

Johnson unveiled the new 2013 numbers last week. He says an even more significant figure is the department’s case clearance. It tracks how well detectives solve homicides and how many criminals they catch.

In 2012, detectives solved nearly 96 percent of homicides; the national average is right around 63 percent.

“It’s really a very simple thing. It’s–if they don’t solve the crime, I don’t have anybody to prosecute,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

That’s why Shellenberger is pleased with the figures. But there’s more.

“Of the 19 homicides committed here in Baltimore County, 14 of them were people who knew one another in some way. So that means that the chances of a Baltimore County citizen being killed by what we would call a random act of violence here in the county is really quite low,” Shellenberger said.

The county says another factor that drops the homicide rate is the population. It’s much higher today than it was back in the 1970s, and that’s helping offset the homicide numbers.

Detectives say prevention is the key when it comes to homicide cases. Over the years, they have teamed up with businesses and homeowners to bring the numbers down.

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