Focus on the Facts: Deadly Maryland

Despite recent self-congratulation due to Maryland’s declining crime rate over 1997, the fact remains that this state compares most unfavorably.

According to FBI violent crime data taken from the Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States for 1996, in 1990 Marylanders experienced 919 violent crimes per 100,000 state residents. This made the Free State the sixth most dangerous state. (See large table.)

By 1994, the most recent year for which comprehensive, interstate FBI figures are available, Maryland’s rank had dropped to eighth most dangerous. However, this may be attributed more to surging crime in other states than it can to a decline in violent activities in Maryland. Despite an improved national rank, Maryland’s rate of violent crime per 100,000 residents actually increased over the period, from 919 to 948 – an rise of 3.2 percent.

The situation in regard to juvenile crime is particularly worrisome. As the small table shows, from 1990-94, the number of arrests of juveniles for violent crime soared by 39.9 percent. An already embarrassing 1990 figure of 2,645 juvenile arrests had by 1994 leaped to 3,569. The problem is worst in Baltimore. With 15 percent of the state’s teenage population, the city accounts for about a third of the state’s juvenile crime.

It is not yet time for Maryland to rest easy.

U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1996 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1997), table 312.

Posted in: Criminal Justice, News Series