Nearly three weeks have passed since a home burglary has been reported in Perry Hall or Kingsville—a stark contrast to the three-month rash of more than 30 break-ins that worried residents of communities better known for low crime rates and high property values.
Most of the burglaries reported between Nov. 30 and Feb. 20 struck single-family homes, occurred during the day and apparently targeted jewelry.
The burgalries appear to have quietly halted thanks to Baltimore County police detectives and community involvement.
"It wasn't one thing—there were a bunch of pieces to the puzzle," said Capt. Michael Balog of the White Marsh police precinct. "We've had great community involvement, more calls to 911 when people see suspicious persons and we've made arrests."
Balog referred to four arrests specifically.
On Feb. 10, police arrested Shawn Lee Michael, 38, of the 4000 block of Pinedale Drive, according to Balog. Michael was later charged with first-degree, second-degree and third-degree burglary, theft and destruction of property in connection with a home break-in reported on Feb. 6 on Pinedale Drive in Perry Hall, court records show.
On Feb. 13, police arrested Alvin Saleem Elamin Thompson and charged him with breaking into a Perry Hall home on Garland Avenue on Jan. 13, Patch reported. Police believe Thompson stole more than $8,000 in cash and $20,000 in jewelry. He was also charged with stealing from a police officer's Towson home in November.
Police later arrested Daniel Andrew Tucker on Feb. 17 and Dennis Wayne Hall on Feb. 22, Patch reported. Both were charged with breaking into a Perry Hall home on Fieldchat Road on Feb. 13. Investigators believe they busted open a rear basement door, which had been dead-bolted, and stole jewelry from a bedroom.
The four men have not been connected to the other reported burglaries, Balog said. Investigations into those incidents are still ongoing, he said.
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Statistically, few burglary investigations end in arrests, police officials said.
Nationally, the clearance rate for burglaries (the percentage of cases where an arrest is made or the case is otherwise closed) was 12.4 percent in 2010, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
Baltimore County's clearance rate for burglaries was notably higher at 20 percent in 2010, according to police spokeswoman Detective Cathy Batton. These rates are not broken down by precinct and data for 2011 has not yet been released, Batton said.
"I spoke to a commander in the burglary unit and he believes our number is higher due to our commitment to investigating burglaries. We have detectives assigned to each precinct to look into each burglary," Batton said.
The rash of home burglaries spurred multiple community meetings on crime prevention. County Councilman David Marks held a meeting on Feb. 2 to encourage neighborhoods to form Citizens on Patrol groups. On Feb. 24, Balog and Capt. Gordon Skinner of the Parkville precinct shared tips with community members and businesses on securing their property against burglars.
Both Balog and Skinner told Patch that they had increased daytime patrols in Perry Hall neighborhoods and ultilized the county's helicopters in responding to reported burglaries in recent months.
While the home burglaries seem to have ended, Balog said officers in the area will remain on alert, as should community members.
"We're encouraging people to stay vigilant and keep calling 911 when they see anything suspicious," he said.