Joined by law enforcement officials, including U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey and members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89, Governor Martin O'Malley today announced historic reductions in crime in Maryland for 2009. According to 2009 year-end crime data compiled by the Maryland State Police and submitted to the FBI for use in the national crime statistics report, Maryland's violent crime rate is at its lowest level in Maryland since modern crime-tracking began in 1975. Similarly, total crime declined to its lowest level since 1975, as have homicides, dropping 12 percent since 2008 with 57 fewer people murdered last year in Maryland than the year before.
"Protecting the public's safety is the greatest obligation of government at every level," said Governor O'Malley. "It is not by chance, but by choice that even in tough economic times, we've delivered results for the people of Maryland, driving down crime throughout our One Maryland to its lowest levels in recorded history. Working together, we're aligning our efforts between state, local, county, and federal law enforcement and government at levels never before seen in our State.
These statewide figures are also reflected in Prince George's County, where Governor O'Malley made today's announcement. Overall crime is at its lowest level in the County since 1975, with violent crime in the County is at its lowest level since 1984 and automobile thefts dropping to the lowest level since 1985.
"I want to thank Governor O'Malley for his commitment to public safety that has led to record crime reduction across our state in 2009," Johnson said. "During difficult times, many questioned our methods in reducing crime, but today I am proud that we stayed the course and reached record crime reduction in Prince George's County in 2008 and 2009."
Statewide, data for 2009 show reductions compared to 2008 not only in homicides but also in motor vehicle theft (-23.0%), robbery (-9.0%), aggravated assault (-3.0%), breaking and entering (-5.0%), and larceny-theft (-6.0%).
Twenty jurisdictions reported reductions in total crime, with nine reporting double-digit reductions between 2008 and 2009. Fifteen jurisdictions noted specific reductions in violent crime (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault), with seven reporting double-digit decreases. Twenty-two jurisdictions noted specific reductions in property crime (breaking and entering, larceny/theft, and motor vehicle theft), with eight jurisdictions reporting reductions of 10 percent or more.
"For the last three years, Governor O'Malley has directed State public safety agencies to engage in the local fight against crime like never before," said Kristen Mahoney, Director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention. "By focusing on improving violent probationer compliance, reducing illegal gun trafficking, increasing warrant service, and applying the most effective law enforcement technology and information sharing strategies to our collective fight against violent crime, I am proud to stand with the Governor and our partners on the federal, state and local levels to realize a safer Maryland.
Governor O'Malley tasked the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention with forming both local partnerships, and working partnerships across borders of neighboring states and the District of Columbia to crack down on violent criminals. At today's announcement, Governor O'Malley highlighted some of the programs implemented in the last three years that have contributed to these dramatic reductions, including:
* Public Safety Dashboard: A database of life-saving information shared with 16,000 law enforcement officers and government servants in more than 100 agencies. This innovative approach to information sharing currently registers between 25,000 and 40,000 hits per day.
* License Plate Recognition Software: Through the application of advanced license plate reader technologies, funded largely through the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, local and State law enforcement is delivering real results to crack down on auto theft. Motor vehicle theft dropped 23 percent statewide last year compared to 2008.
* Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force: Through innovative cross border collaboration, this task force comprised of law enforcement agencies from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, has issued 1,000 warrants to help make neighborhoods safer in the DC Metro area.
* Violence Prevention Initiative: This innovative approach to managing and supervising the most violent offenders has driven violent crime down in Maryland to its lowest levels since 1975. Crime data show these individuals have the greatest propensity for committing future acts of violence.
* Anti-gang initiatives: Resulting from reforms championed by the O'Malley-Brown Administration, Maryland agencies now share gang intelligence information among over 100 partner agencies within Maryland and with regional partners.
* DNA: After inheriting a backlog of 24,000 unanalyzed and 15,000 uncollected DNA samples, Governor O'Malley allocated the necessary resources to eliminate that backlog leading to case closures and arrests of violent fugitives. In 2009 alone, 103 murderers, rapists, and other criminals who might otherwise be walking the streets, were arrested thanks to DNA technology.
* Unprecedented interagency cooperation: As a result of efficiency reforms implemented by the O'Malley-Brown Administration, the Department of Parole and Probation, and Department of Corrections, the Department of Juvenile Services, and local law enforcement cooperate and communicate at unprecedented levels, ensuring low recidivism and high rates of supervision for the most violent offenders.