Violent Crime Down In MD, But Car Thefts And Hate Crimes Up: FBI

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Nationally, violent crime was down slightly, by 1.7 percent to pre-pandemic levels, according to the Crime In the Nation, 2022 report from the FBI. But, property crimes — especially auto theft — rose by 7.1 percent nationally. (Shutterstock)

Patch National Reporter Beth Dalbey and Patch Regional Manager Deb Belt wrote this story.

MARYLAND — Violent crime decreased 8.5 percent in Maryland in 2022 from the previous year, according to a new FBI crime data released Oct. 16 by the agency.

Nationally, violent crime was down slightly, by 1.7 percent to pre-pandemic levels according to the Crime In the Nation, 2022 report from the FBI. At the same time, property crimes — especially auto theft — rose considerably, by 7.1 percent nationally and $80 million more in stolen vehicles were reported in Virginia.

The report comes with a caveat. In the past, the annual snapshot of crime in the United States has been criticized as missing data from some of the country’s largest cities, including New York and Los Angeles. For the 2021 report, for example, only 62.7 percent of agencies representing just 64.8 percent of the U.S. population submitted data.

In Maryland, 95 of 155 law enforcement agencies participated in 2022.

A change in collection methods helped, and this year, the data represents 83.3 percent of all agencies whose jurisdictions cover 93.5 percent of the population.

Last year was the second in a row that violent crime went down, a big turnaround from the 29 percent increase in the murder rate in 2020, a year of huge pandemic-related social disruption and upended support systems.

Richard Rosenfeld, a criminal justice professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told The Associated Press the drop in violence can be attributed largely to the fact that the “stresses and strains” associated with the pandemic have abated.

“By and large, what we’re seeing is simply a return to something approaching normal after the big changes associated with the pandemic,” Rosenfeld said.

Violent crime includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault and robbery. The biggest dips nationally were in homicides (6.1 percent) and rape (5.4 percent). Aggravated assaults decreased by 1.1 percent, and robbery was up by 1.3 percent.

In Maryland, in 2022, the violent crime rate was 398 per 100,000 people, compared to a rate of 435 in 2021 and 399 in 2020.

In the most recent 2022 report, the violent crime rate was 380.7 per 100,000 people. That’s statistically the same as the prepandemic 2019 violent crime rate of 380.8 per 100,000 people.

The data offers a snapshot of gun violence in America. Firearms were used in 80.3 percent of murder and manslaughter crimes. And although violent crime was down overall, the number of crimes committed with one or more guns was up 0.6 percent to 488,900 in 2022, according to the data.

Also, more minors were shot in 2022 than in the year prior. Both fatal and non-fatal gun injuries decreased for adults, but among juveniles, fatal gun violence increased by a staggering 11.8 percent, from 1,300 to 1,500. The number of non-fatal gunshot incidents for juveniles was also up 10.67 percent, from 61,800 to 68,300.

Also in the report:

Property Crimes

The 7.1 percent increase in property crimes was driven by a 10.9 percent increase in motor vehicle thefts nationwide. Carjackings were up 8.1 percent, and nearly 90 percent involved one or more assailants with a weapon, according to the FBI. More offenders are working in groups, with a 13 percent increase in arrests with two or more suspects. Most carjackings occur at night, between 8 p.m. and 4 p.m., and males under age 18 represent about 18 percent of those arrested.

In Maryland in 2022, 11,073 burglaries were reported, compared to 6,809 incidents in 2021 — a 62 percent decrease. Vehicle thefts also increased in Maryland and around the nation, continuing the upward trend seen in recent years. Car thefts in the state totaled $213 million in value in 2022, an increase from $113 million in car thefts reported in 2021.

Overall property crime rates were even higher on college campuses, spiking to 35.4 percent in 2022 with more than 6.5 million reports of larceny — that is, property theft without violence.

Hate Crimes

Reported incidents of hate crimes were up 0.5 percent with 11,634 reported incidents, the highest number since the FBI began tracking such data in 1991. Hate crimes against Jews were up more than 37 percent to 1,122 incidents.

Maryland had 200 total hate crime incidents reported in 2022, compared to 139 in 2021. Here's how the victims of those crimes broke down:

  • Anti-Black or African American: 67
  • Anti-White: 19
  • Anti-Jewish: 16
  • Anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (Mixed Group): 13
  • Anti-American Indian or Alaska Native: 11

“Reported hate crime incidents across the country have once again reached record highs, with anti-Jewish hate crimes at a number not seen in decades,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement.

The complete analysis is found on the Crime Data Explorer.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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