Feb. 23-The Frederick County Sheriff's Office has seen a 31% increase in major violent and property crimes in 2022, police said.
The biggest increase was in thefts, while homicide, robbery, motor vehicle theft and arson all went down in 2022, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said in the news release that it was "the first overall increase in crime in Frederick County in nine years," including the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, there were 334 more Part I crimes - encompassing violent and property crimes - committed in 2022, the sheriff's office data showed.
More than 17,000 police agencies across the nation collect crime statistics on Uniform Crime Report Part I offenses, which include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary or breaking and entering, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.
The sheriff's office shared data on UCR Part I crimes on Thursday handled by the sheriff's office, Maryland State Police and the two agencies combined. The News-Post pulled data from the sheriff's office alone.
(The News-Post will include state police data when it looks more broadly at all police agencies within the county, including the Frederick Police Department, which expects to have its 2022 report by the end of March.)
In 2021, according to data from the sheriff's office, there were 743 thefts. That number increased in 2022 by 293, for a total 1,039.
Jenkins said in the press release that some of this increase is due to local stores following corporate policy that doesn't allow them to confront people stealing in stores.
The local stores often call after the theft has happened, he said, so the sheriff's office has been trying to work with stores to have employees call police while the theft is in progress, so they can apprehend the individuals.
He also blamed the illegal drug market as a driver of theft and more violent crimes.
Aggravated assault saw the second highest increase, with 163 assaults in 2021 and 205 assaults in 2022.
Burglaries increased by 17 in 2022. There were 78 burglaries in 2021 and 95 burglaries in 2022.
Rape had the smallest increase, with nine more in 2022 - 15 in 2021 and 24 in 2022.
Of the crimes that decreased in 2022, motor vehicle theft decreased the most. There were 54 motor vehicle thefts in 2021 and 37 in 2022 - 17 fewer.
There were three homicides in 2022, one fewer than in 2021, the data showed.
Robberies and arson decreased by three and six, respectively, in 2022. Robberies went down from 18 in 2021 to 15 in 2022. Arson cases decreased from 9 in 2021 to 3 in 2022.
In 2022, the sheriff's office completed more than 121,700 calls for service, a 2.2% increase from 2021, the release said.
Arrests, traffic stops, citations and other police activity also increased, the release said.
Jenkins gave numerous reasons for the general increase of Part I crimes between 2021 and 2022. There is a lack of consequence for people who commit crimes, he said in the release, which promotes less respect for individuals, laws, rules and property of others.
"As a result, criminals commit more serious crimes like assaults and believe that theft and looting is easy to commit without consequence," he said.
He also said some police reform is detrimental to how the agency performs its duties.
"... [T]he war against law enforcement through over-reaching police reform legislation has had a negative impact as well, causing some law enforcement to be less proactive fearing unjust consequences for their actions," Jenkins said.