Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced Friday that the county's homicide rate and four-year average was the lowest in decades, with the total of 19 homicides for 2013 the county's lowest since 1976.
"The number of homicides in Baltimore County was well below the previous five-year average," Johnson said at a press conference at the Public Safety Building in Towson on Jan. 3. "It also represents a 17.4 percent reduction of homicides compared to 2012" when the county had 23 homicides, the chief said. In 2011, there were 30 homicides.
Also, according to police data, the 92 homicides in the period between 2010 and 2013 represent the lowest four-year period since 1976 to 1979, a period when there were 90 murders in the county.
Additionally, Johnson touted the county's homicide clearance rate, which was featured in a September 2013 Department of Justice study as a model for other departments to follow.
In 2012, which is the most recent available clearance data, county detectives cleared 95.7 percent of homicide cases. The national average was 62.5-percent.
"Our homicide numbers and extraordinary case clearance rates are a product of a continuum of competence and commitment of personnel who have a strong passion for justice and professional public safety that's pervasive throughout the department," Johnson said.
During the announcement, Kamenetz praised the county police department for its sound practices and the department's officers for developing a trust with the communities they patrol.
Johnson said Monday that he is "optimistic" that the rest of the county's crime stats will see "no significant increase."
Though they are comfortable releasing homicide stats shortly after the new year, Baltimore County does not typically release its other crime statistics until the numbers undergo an "exhaustive process of human hands and technology that needs to touch every one of these police reports to make sure they're accurately reported," Johnson said.