Police Saw a Crime Increase Last Year

The Gaithersburg Police Department saw a nearly 10 percent increase in crime last year, according to the agency’s annual report. Released on March 1, the report contains data gathered for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Part I offenses. Collected from the calendar year, there were 1,769 incidents last year compared to 2014’s total of 1,610.

While calls for service increased, going from 32,195 in 2014 up to 34,938 last year, so did arrests. Officers made 1,005 adult and 68 juvenile arrests in 2015—up from 885 in 2014.

GPD spokesperson Officer Dan Lane said the department is not concerned about the increase. Officers have been doing more proactive policing and encouraging people to call in when they see something suspicious. “We think that is helping with the increase in numbers,” he said.

Mayor Jud Ashman said that the city is keeping an eye on the increase, but explained, “Part of this is due to our officers initiating more arrests, meaning that they are being diligent in their patrols and are making arrests for crimes which may have otherwise gone unreported. We believe some of the increase is also due to our efforts to encourage more people to report incidents when they see them.”

There are seven categories in the FBI crime report: homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft. Two saw decreases while the remaining five saw an increase in numbers.

Homicides dropped by 50 percent from two in 2014 to one in 2015. Aggravated assaults also declined by 25.7 percent—going from 136 in 2014 to 101 last year. Of the 101, the department states 59 were domestic-related and 12 others were by a known suspect. “It is encouraging to see a downward trend in homicides and aggravated assaults,” noted Ashman.

Larcenies went up from 1,251 to 1,358, an 8.6 percent increase. Reported rapes rose from 10 to 25. Auto thefts increased from 53 to 67 cases.

There was a 45.9 percent increase in robberies going from 37 in 2014 up to 54 last year. The number of burglaries also rose from 121 to 163.

This data, along with daily crime maps put together by the department’s crime analyst, will be used to focus enforcement in certain areas, Lane said.

“As our community grows, our vigilance is as important as ever,” Ashman said. “The City Council and I are committed to programs to ensure public safety, which is reflected in initiatives that you’ll see in both the strategic plan and the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year.

Taking several months to complete, the 22-page report also provides details on the department’s history, training, community outreach activities and officer awards. The report is completed annually to give the public “a brief description of what the department has done for the past year,” Lane said.

To view the report online, go to www.gaitherburgmd.gov under the public safety section.