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Emmitsburg crime on the rise,
 Thurmont’s falling

James Rada Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(9/4) Though one of the smaller municipalities in Frederick County, Emmitsburg’s crime rate was higher than any other town’s in the county except for New Market and Frederick City.

The recently released “Crime in Maryland: 2007 Uniform Crime Report” shows that Emmitsburg’s crime rate for 2007 is 3017.6, the number of major crimes per 100,000 residents. By looking at the crime rate, comparisons can be made between different size towns and towns with changing populations. Emmitsburg’s 2007 rate represents a 63-percent increase over 2006 and a 138-percent increase since 2004.

“It’s concerning, but given the reports we’ve been hearing from the deputies lately, it’s not surprising,” said Mayor James Hoover.

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said there has definitely been an increase in crime in the county. Last year, in particular, there was a series of copper thefts in the area that added to Emmitsburg’s crime numbers.

“Any time there’s an increase in crime, I’m concerned, especially if it’s in violent crime, aggravated assault and theft,” Jenkins said.

Last year, larceny theft made up about 75 percent of the town’s 72 major crimes and the trend seems to be continuing. Hoover believes the sluggish economy has been a factor.

“More and more people are forced to do things they don’t normally do and those that would normally do it are doing it more often,” he said.

Though crime rates can cause crime in smaller communities to look worse than it is because the rate has to inflate the population of the smaller communities, the actual number of crimes in Emmitsburg last year was still high. The town had 72 major crimes, which puts it on par with Thurmont and Walkersville, both towns more than twice Emmitsburg’s size.

“We as citizens need to be looking out for one another and calling 911 if we see something. You can stay anonymous, but you need to make the call,” he said.
Cpl. Jennifer Bailey with the FCSO agreed, saying, “Many times citizens are our eyes and ears with what’s going on.”

Thurmont, in contrast to Emmitsburg, has been seeing a decreasing crime rate between 2004 and 2007 and at the same time maintaining the highest clearance rate among police agencies in the county.

Police Chief Greg Eyler said the two factors work together because solving a case acts as a deterrent to crime.

“What helps us is that more citizens are getting involved with reporting crime and helping us solve them,” Eyler said.

Thurmont’s crime rate of 1,264.0 is significantly lower than Brunswick and slightly higher than Walkersville, the two Frederick County towns closest to the same size as Thurmont. Overall, Thurmont has the fourth-lowest crime rate in the county behind Rosemont, Myersville and Walkersville.

“I believe we’ve been able to reduce crime because we have an adequately sized police force that is full time,” said Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns. “That’s a significant deterrent to crime that other towns with part-time policing don’t have.”

Thurmont Police also closed half of the 77 major crimes the town had last year, which is higher than other police agencies in the county.

“You certainly wouldn’t want to commit a violent crime in Thurmont compared to some other places,” Burns said.

Crime in Northern Frederick County (2004 - 2007)
Crime Rate (Crimes)

                        2004                2005                2006               2007

Thurmont       1817.3 (108)   1820.9 (110)   1420.8 (86)   1264.0 (77)
Emmitsburg     1268.9 (31)    1209.8 (29)     1852.6 (44)    3017.6 (72)


Source: 2005 & 2007 Crime in Maryland reports

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