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Crime Rate in Montgomery County Continues to Decline

Montgomery County's overall crime rate dropped 9 percent in 2013. Do you feel your neighborhood is safer?

Montgomery County's overall crime rate dropped 9 percent in 2013. File|Patch
Montgomery County's overall crime rate dropped 9 percent in 2013. File|Patch

The overall crime rate for 2013 in Montgomery County decreased 9 percent from the previous year, according to a news release, although the number of rapes, commercial robberies and commercial burglaries increased.

County leaders said the overall decrease in crime is part of a seven-year trend that totaled a 33 percent reduction in serious crime and a 26 percent decrease in all crimes. The 26 percent drop in all crimes in the county was three times lower than the 9 percent drop nationally and contrasted with an 8 percent overall increase in crimes in the 7 years before (2000-2006).

Do you feel that your neighborhood has become safer in the past year? Tell us in comments.

“Today, you can see – by the numbers – the progress that the County has made,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “(Police) Chief (J. Thomas) Manger, his command staff and the men and women of the department have worked harder, smarter and more creatively to produce these numbers and to better protect the lives and property of the residents of Montgomery County.

“None of this happened by accident. When I assumed office, Montgomery County was spending beyond its means – over a 36 percent increase in the three years before I became county executive. We had to stop unsustainable budgets. Then, of course, we had to weather the Great Recession that laid low our entire nation. Despite these challenges, we made public safety a priority.”

While the county budget increased 12 percent between 2007 and 2014, spending for the Police Department more than doubled that – nearly 28 percent, Leggett said.

“While I am always pleased to see our crime numbers continue to drop, the men and women of the MCPD understand that there is still work to be done, and our efforts will continue,” said Chief Manger. “Fighting crime requires a focus on preventing it in the first place, and then being able to react quickly when it does occur. I appreciate the relentless effort from my cops, the dedication of my civilian employees, as well as the help we get every day from the public we serve.” 

The drop in the crime rate shows county leaders have successfully worked together to keep Montgomery County one of the best places to live, work and raise a family, said Council President Craig Rice.

“A few years ago, in response to community concerns and urging from police leadership, we began a reform of our policing districts and an increase in the number of officers to better address community policing needs,” Rice said.

Year-end statistics from 2013 show crime down in all categories except forcible rape (25 stranger, 104 known, 130 total, up from 21 stranger, 81 known, 102 total in 2012) and commercial robberies (up from 79 to 102) and commercial burglaries (up from 481 to 581).

Budget funding over the past seven years has financed some parts of the police chief’s plan, including Public Community Action Teams, District Community Action teams, more police district investigative positions to include the establishment of a separate 6th District Police Investigative Unit, and a Centralized Criminal Street Gang Unit.

Despite the slow economy the county increased the full-time positions in the department – sworn and civilian – by more than 100.

Other programs included the opening of the Family Justice Center to establish a one-stop shop to better serve families who are victims of domestic violence. Also, the County Executive’s Positive Youth Development Initiative – a joint initiative of the Police, Recreation and Health and Human Services Departments --  established after-school programs aimed at at-risk youth, provided resources for intervention to pull kids out of gangs and resources to suppress gang activity.

· Click here to see 2013 Year-End Police Report

· Click here to see County and National Crime Statistics 2000-2013

· Click here to see chart on County spending for Police during the Great Recession

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