From Harford County Sheriff L. Jesse Bane:
The ratio of deputies the Harford County Sheriff has per 1,000 population to police Harford County is .8! This is the statement I have quoted at town hall meetings and in public forums. My numbers do not include the number of officers in the towns of Bel Air, Aberdeen, and Havre de Grace since these officers do not police Harford County. Except for his assumption that all my personnel are assigned to policing Harford County, Mr. Gahler’s figures are correct. But they do not reflect the numbers for the Sheriff’s Office. My ratio is also based on the numbers for 2012, not the numbers he cites for 2010.
To the average citizen, what we are talking about may still be very confusing. To Mr. Gahler, I extend the invitation to him to sit down with me to look at the numbers, and then we both can report the same figures to those who are interested. After all, it is not the intent of either of us to allow the public to remain confused.
The average really doesn’t care what the ratio is. All he or she wants to know is, “Am I safe? And, if so, how safe am I?” Since we only have the numbers from “Crime in Maryland” (the reference Mr. Gahler cites) for 2010, let’s break it down. But before we do, let’s repeat what the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention has to say about crime in Harford County for 2010.
After a successful year of crime reductions in 2009, Harford County achieved slight reductions in crime in 2010. The county achieved reductions in total crime (-1.3 percent), violent crime (-3.5 percent) and property crime (-0.09 percent). Harford County’s total crime rate (2,173.8) and propery crime rate (1,827.5) are the lowest ever reported since the Maryland UCR program was adopted in 1975.
In 1975, the crime rate (number of crimes per 100,000 population in Harford County was 4,336.0. In 2010, the crime rate was 2,173.8. That is more than a 50 percent reduction!
How powerful is that?
Let’s break this down even further. Of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions (23 counties and Baltimore City), Harford County had the fifth lowest crime rate in Maryland in 2010. We were bested by Carroll, Garrett, Frederick, and Kent counties.
How did our neighbors fare? Baltimore City finished last. Baltimore County ranked 17th and Cecil County ranked 20th.
These are rather impressive numbers. And I credit the hard work of the men and women of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police, and the municipalities of Bel Air, Aberdeen, and Havre de Grace. Kudos to them for a job well done.
In conclusion, I do hope Mr. Gahler takes me up on my offer. Since he is running for Sheriff, he should get to know the agency a little better. If we both walk away knowing the actual numbers, we will be better able to debate the real issues and tell the public about our game plan for protecting the citizens of Harford County when the campaign is in full swing in 2014.
L. Jesse Bane
Sheriff of Harford County