The number of crimes and the crime rate edged up slightly from 1991 to 1992 in Western Maryland, but the number of murders dropped sharply, new statistics show.
The incidence of robbery, aggravated assault, rape, and breaking and entering rose during the reporting period, concluded the latest Maryland State Police Uniform Crime Report.
"We definitely have an increase in robberies due to economic conditions" in Washington County, Administrative Sgt. Doug Mullendore of the county sheriff's office said.
The nearly 10 percent increase in aggravated assaults in the region and Washington County is probably due to increased reporting, he said.
Seven murders were reported last year, compared with 12 in 1991 in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties.
The overall crime rate for the region increased less than 1 percentage point from 1991 to 1992.
The 30 percent jump in robberies and smaller increases in rapes and aggravated assaults countered the decline in murders.
Even with the slight increase in overall crime, the Western Maryland region had the lowest rate in the state -- 2,993 incidents for every 100,000 residents in 1992.
Next lowest was the rate in Southern Maryland -- 3,802 reported crimes for every 100,000 people in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties. Baltimore City had the highest rate in the state, with 12,115 incidents for every 100,000 residents.
Statewide, the number of crimes and the crime rate rose slightly, the report said. The crime rate was up 0.2 percent; the number of crimes was up 1.2 percent.
Nearly 600 murders were reported across Maryland, for an increase of 5 percent.