Baltimore County Police boast near 40-year low in homicides

BALTIMORE - You have to go back to 1976 to find the homicide numbers the Baltimore County Police Department is reporting today.

Chief Jim Johnson chose to focus on trends rather than year to year; 2013 saw just 19 murders, down from 23 in 2012 and 30 in 2011.

President Jimmy Carter was in office the last time Baltimore County was on this kind of swing.

"You know I graduated high school in 1976 and I think back now, these rates are this good.  I think something is remarkable at play here," Johnson said.

The county also boasted about a 90 percent clearance rate in solving murders which the county says is also well above the national average and proof of the symbiotic relationship between law enforcement and citizens, but leaders were quick to say it could always get better.

"I do want to stress that even just one homicide or one crime rate is too many," said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Meanwhile across the city line, there are already more homicides than there are days in the New Year.

Baltimore City finished with 235 in 2013, higher each year since its own more than 30-year low of 197 in 2011.

A father and son were killed on New Year's Day, two more Thursday night including Patterson Park and North Avenue, a frustrating and concerning start to 2014

"There is always a concern when there is a loss of life in the city.  We want to have a safer Baltimore and we are doing everything we can to investigate these cases and resolve them as soon as possible," said Baltimore Police Sgt. Sarah Connolly.

Police say in the double murder of father and son New Year's Day, detectives are already working promising leads.

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