A staff report prepared for a County Council briefing scheduled for today (Jan. 18) shows a significant increase in homicides, carjackings and firearm-related violent crime in the county in 2021 compared to 2020.
While the report notes that total violent crime decreased almost 13% in 2020 compared to 2019—largely due to COVID-related shutdowns—carjackings were up that year almost 90% and homicides increased 21%.
That trend continued last year as homicides increased from 17 in 2020 to 32 in 2021, an 88% rise. Carjackings rose from 2020’s 36 to 67 in 2021, an increase of slightly more than 72%.
In addition, violent crimes committed with firearms, largely aggravated assaults, robberies and homicides, rose 27% compared to 2020, which itself showed an increase of 17% over 2019.
Two of the highest visibility and most violent of those crimes, in terms of number of shots fired, were committed in October in Silver Spring’s Central Business District. In a Georgia Avenue incident, more than 50 shots were fired, and 45 casings were recovered in a separate incident on Fenton Street, according to the report.
A December incident resulted in a fatal police shooting now being investigated by the Maryland Attorney General.
The commander of the police department’s 3rd District, which includes the CBD, in October “created a Crime Task Force with a primary focus on crime suppression, high visibility, and overall quicker responses to crimes in progress. This team is comprised of a Sergeant and six officers. This supplements the existing CBD team of one Sergeant and four officers,” according to the council’s report.
The commander also added four officers to work 9 p.m.–2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays in “high visibility” locations.
The staff also offered several areas for the council to consider concerning approaches to deal with violent crimes, including staffing, focused deterrence, and funding sources.
Screenshots from County Council report