- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
After a steady decline for the past five years, Charles County crime climbed by 5 percent, with an increase in the number of burglaries, as well as bumps in assault, larceny theft and car theft, according to numbers from the annual Uniform Crime Report.
The county saw 4,115 index crimes in 2013, an uptick from 2013’s number of 3,918, almost 200 more crimes, according to the state annual Uniform Crime Report.
The Uniform Crime Report selects certain crimes, index offenses, to gauge the overall crime trends in the United States. The state data is reported to the FBI. Index offenses encompass murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft and motor vehicle theft.
The county reported an almost 15 percent increase in the number of break-ins, which shot up from 614 in 2012 to 704 in 2013, though the numbers of murders and rapes both fell, with three murders in 2013, compared to six in 2012, and 24 rapes in 2013 after 32 in 2012.
Burglaries have historically been an issue for the county, Charles County Sheriff Rex Coffey (D) said.
Coffey said the number of burglaries likely links to the number of abandoned and foreclosed homes in the county. Teenagers will break in to the homes, or others will try and lift the copper wiring and pipes, which can fetch a decent price, he said.
Coffey said he is confident the number of break-ins has decreased in occupied homes, though state data do not differentiate.
The number of larceny thefts and motor vehicle thefts rose by roughly 3 percent each.
The county reported 2,631 cases of larceny theft in 2013 compared to 2,543 in 2012. Motor vehicle theft jumped from 186 in 2012 to 192 in 2013.
While assaults rose by 8 percent — from 383 in 2012 to 414 in 2013 — robberies were down by more than 4 percent, with 147 last year compared to 154 in 2012.
“The things we take reports for would never have a report taken for in Prince George’s County,” Coffey said. “Our officers don’t hesitate. We want to have an accurate number, and they’re great about taking reports and following up investigations.”
Since 2009, the county’s crime statistics gradually have fallen. Last year is the first time that crime has seen any increase, though the number still does not rival the number of crimes in previous years.
In 2010, the county saw 4,425 index offenses, which dropped to 4,366 in 2011, and then to 3,918 — a more than 10 percent plunge in 2012.
Thought they are not calculated as index crimes, the number of arsons in the county remained relatively stagnant, with 34 last year, compared to 36 in 2012.
Drug arrests also are not considered an index offense, though the county’s number did rise by more than 9 percent, from 1,103 in 2012 to 1,195 in 2013.
“Compared to the previous year, when the numbers are so low it is hard to continue to overcome,” Coffey said. “This year there will be a decrease in crime, like the five previous years. I think we’re in pretty good shape. I’m pleased.”