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Thurmont vandalism incidents increasing

Ingrid Mezo
The Gazette

(10/12) The number of vandalism incidents in Thurmont is already higher this year than it was in all of 2005.

Other areas in northern Frederick County, such as Walkersville, have also seen a rash of vandalism incidents this year.

According to Thurmont Police Department statistics, 79 calls for vandalism or malicious destruction of property have occurred so far this year. That is 23 more calls than all of last year, and five more than 2004.

That number compares to the 46 incidents of vandalism that the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office responded to in 2006, just five short of all of 2005.

Most of the destruction of property involving minors that the Thurmont Police Department handled occurred in July, with 14 such calls answered that month. Eleven of the incidents involved minors.

Carrie Struckman, the Thurmont Police Department’s office manager, said that some of the incidents had not been tied to any ‘‘certain” suspect, so a minor could or could not be involved.

Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler pointed to why he believes the rate of vandalism increases in the summer: ‘‘July and August is when school’s out,” he said. ‘‘I think the kids right now are bored, and don’t have anything to do.”

Statistics from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office show the highest number of youth vandalism, 13, occurring in March. Thurmont’s numbers for March was also high, 14, but only one incident was tied to minors.
Thurmont vandalism incidents increasing

The Sheriff’s Office arrested nine minors in February, and seven minors in June, but less in the months when such incidents had gone up in Thurmont.

Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, Sheriff’s Office’s spokeswoman, said that the statistics only include arrests made by the Sheriff’s Office, not other police departments, such as Brunswick, the Maryland State Police, or Frederick City.

While youth associations and the county provides many activities in which children can participate, such as sports and extracurricular art activities, Eyler said he believed attendance has dropped in recent years.

‘‘When Bill [Blakeslee] and I were Little League coaches, kids came out all the time,” Eyler said. ‘‘You just don’t find the interest anymore in playing sports.”

‘‘When kids go back to school, it slows down a little,” Eyler said.

But he also pointed out that children go back to school in September, the month that had the third highest number of vandalism incidents this year. ‘‘When spring comes, it picks up again, like everything else does,” Eyler said.

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