Serious crimes overall dropped 6 percent in 2014 in the areas of Frederick County covered by the sheriff’s office and Maryland State Police, according to a combined agency report to the FBI.
The report’s most startling increase was in rapes investigated by sheriff’s deputies, from 10 in 2013 to 18 last year. The report only included crimes defined as “part one” offenses by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports program: Criminal homicides, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, thefts, motor vehicle thefts and arsons.
Crime dropped for both agencies in most categories. Combined decreases reported in burglaries, from 472 down to 393 last year, as well as in motor vehicle thefts, from 91 down to 40 last year, for instance. Overall part one crimes dropped from 2,455 to 2,315 between the two years, the report states.
In a statement accompanying Friday’s release, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins cautioned residents that none of the rapes reported last year were committed by strangers targeting victims at random. Jenkins also mentioned the role the increased use of heroin in the county has on increasing related crimes, such as theft.
The report details an increase in the number of homicides handled by state police, from zero in 2013 to two in 2014.
State police headed up the investigation of the Dec. 22 stabbing death of 67-year-old Lillie Marie Morris at her home in Jefferson. Only two days later, on Dec. 24, state police responded to their second homicide of the year when passers-by found 20-year-old Hagerstown resident Malicia Smith dead from an apparent shooting along U.S. 40 near Middletown.
Both cases were closed with arrests. Morris’ granddaughter, Hestina Lakeisha Harris, 19, was charged within days of Morris’ death, and both suspects in Smith’s death, Curtis Eugene Evans, 20, and Neajee Shakima Terry, 19, were in jail.
Overall, homicides fell from four in 2013 to three in 2014, once the sheriff’s office’s statistics are factored in to the report.
The sheriff’s office continued its trend of inheriting more crime and calls for service from the state police, according to the report. Sheriff’s deputies handled 2,031 part one crimes last year compared with the 248 handled by state troopers.
“All other reductions in part one crimes (are) mostly due to a revised memorandum of understanding with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, wherein the FCSO now has responsibility for routes 355 and 85,” wrote Lt. Wayne Wachsmuth, commander of the state police’s Frederick barrack, in a statement with Friday’s release.