With an increase in arrests and a decrease in crime, 2014 was an encouraging year for law enforcement at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), says Antonio Williams, MS, chief of the UMB Police Force.
Not that he’s content with the recently released year-end figures. “As long as there is one crime here, that’s one crime too many,” says Williams, who is also the University’s assistant vice president for public safety. “But yes, we’ve made strides and the yeoman efforts of the men and women who protect this University deserve to be recognized.”
Overall, crime fell by nearly 30 percent at UMB in 2014, with 110 incidents compared to 157 in 2013. Simple assaults, thefts, and stolen vehicles were all down (see crime chart below). Campus arrests increased, especially for robbery, aggravated assault, and theft, with UMB police making 66 arrests in 2014 compared to 60 the year before (see arrest chart below).
Williams cautions, however, that not all the news was good. “While I am pleased that we experienced an overall crime decrease,” he says, “I am deeply troubled that we had an increase in violent crime.”
Indeed, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary increased in 2014. Robberies grew from seven to 12, aggravated assaults jumped from two to eight, and there was one more burglary.
Two robberies on the UMB campus the night of Oct. 6 led to two Safety Matters town halls so that Williams, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and members of the Baltimore Police Department could address safety concerns.
A new patrol strategy was put in place that included both UMB’s sworn police officers and non-sworn security. Other adjustments were made in crime deployment and tactics to prevent and deter violent crime.
“2014 was a challenging year, especially in the fall,” Williams concedes. “Our security personnel really stepped up to the plate, working later shifts, being more visible on the streets, doing whatever was asked of them. We continue to work hard to decrease crime and the fear of crime. The good news is we are off to a good start in 2015.”
To read more about the steps the UMB Police Force is taking to protect those at the University, visit http://www.umaryland.edu/publicsafety/.