Because of an increasing number of calls for law enforcement services in Joppa, Sheriff Joseph P. Meadows has decided to designate that area as a separate patrol beat.
That means that, as staffing permits, at least one deputy a shift will be assigned exclusively to Joppa and will leave that beat only to back up deputies in emergencies in other sectors.
"We recognize Joppa is not the only area with a rising crime rate, but we are seeing a definite increase in the number of responses to that area," Sheriff Meadows said.
Until now, the Joppa area -- from Joppatowne west to the Baltimore County line and north on Route 152 to Jerusalem Road -- was part of the Edgewood sector and included a portion of Abingdon.
About 32 percent of 132,419 requests for service last year came from the Joppa-Edgewood sector.
This year, 31.7 percent of the service calls have come from that sector, said Sgt. Edward Hopkins, a sheriff's office spokesman.
A recent analysis ordered by the sheriff indicated that deputies responded to 708 calls for service from March 5 to April 5 in the Edgewood-Joppa sector, and 49.7 percent of those were from the Joppa area, the sergeant said.
Sergeant Hopkins said analyzing data on service calls will continue.
As needs change, patrol assignments will be adjusted, he said.