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Friday, February 6, 2015

Part 2 ~ Cumberland, Maryland ~ Recent Rise In Crime ~ Local Statistics and Strategy Moving Forward

Thus far, since my recent blog posting and letter to many local and state officials as well as the law enforcement community, I have had some excellent feedback that I will publish here, as well as at the end of my recent blogs (as an edition and noted as such from the original) and I think most importantly it will paint a better picture of the reasoning for how criminal cases, in particular are being dealt with on a local level, as well as the multiple prongs of this issue and how we will have to address many prongs or facets in order to have any final real accomplishments in these regards.

Those, that I do personally quote within from our own correspondence, have given me full authority to do so, and I hope the information they have shared with me, that I am in turn sharing with you, is indeed worthy of propelling the current conversation forward so that we as a community can seek efficient answers and push harder for support and funding from all entities that may be able to help us.

I will also share quotes and entire articles of recent, published after my letter was first published as a specific catalyst to open this conversation and make others aware, so that the readership may get a well rounded education on which to form their own opinions, formulate their own letters to officials, and share with the rest of us their support and ideas or consideratijns that we all need to hear moving forward against this huge task.

Timing is of the essence and in order to save you time I have, at the end of this letter / blog, include local emails which I suggest we all write to and ask for this support and funding that we will be seeking as we all brainstorm together and formulate a definitive plan to help combat the recent rise in violent and drug related crimes.

Think about this, if Allegany County has a population of 75,000 peopl, would you pay a yearly earmarked tax of $ 25 just for this cause, well aware that that would immediately raise $1,875,000.00 in order to accomplish these goals set forth? I would pay an addition $ 100 if I ken for sure all of that money was, again, specifically ear marked for that purpose. Would you volunteer to raise additional funds, because it will take great funding in order to have an effect in these regards. Should the overage of expected funding from the Rocky Gap Casino and Resort go towards these expenditures? Where do we find the influx of cash so needed in the face of crime we cannot and will not tolerate? What do you suggest as a real means to this end?

We must demand that the Local, County, and State meet the requests of funding and help, otherwise, we will surely only see the trend worsen, and you will see by the graph within where we stand by data collected a few years ago, which has only gotten worse since, and how the trend is indeed moving swiftly upward in a very poor direction, as well as what the logistics are and reasons for making this an even tougher problem for us locally, as we are simply short handed in several aspects.

There needs to be better education, prevention, prosecutions, and corrections, in these cases as well, as to address only one area will indeed let the other areas be overlooked where they will further falter and merely allow for an even greater increases.

This is a huge socio-economic issue, which should come as no surprise. This is also a huge issue due specifically to the economy and all governments agencies being very shorthanded in funding, mostly due to the poor measures taken concerning austerity.

What I have learned thus far in short order is one very important factor. I am enclosing a graph compiled by Micheal Twigg, State's Attorney's Office of Maryland, and it is from data compiled from the UCR (Uniform Crime Report ~ F.B.I ~ 2013), and it is it self quite telling.

I will publish the graph, and then I will explain how to read it for those that may be unfamiliar with information printed and shared as such.

His, Mike Twigg's, entire response (for transparency) is as follows and is a direct and prompt reply from this publication I shared with him the same day I printed it on my blog, so you may read the preceding correspondence here first to be fully informed.

Below is his response:



Thank you for the letter.  I agree that we have to address this problem as soon as possible from all fronts.  While I don't believe that we can arrest our way out of this problem it can certainly help in keeping a lid on it.  I think that in order to truly address this crime wave we need a plan that not only addresses criminals but also the underlying causes of crime like poor economic conditions throughout the country.

We are doing what we can here but I think that it is important to know some of the facts about crime in this county.  For example, Allegany County Circuit Court has seen a dramatic increase in criminal filings from 2011 (805 cases) to 2013 (1029 cases).  Additionally, our District Court routinely has as many cases filed in it comparable to counties twice the size of ours.  A review of UCR statistics (FBI Uniform Crime Reporting) shows that Allegany County has the highest number of UCR reported cases per prosecuting attorney throughout the State (330 per prosecutor).  Here is a chart that I put together with the information that is available online.  I was not able to get the numbers from Baltimore and PG county but you can see where we rank.

CountyPopulation*AttorneysAttorney to Population Ratio2013 UCR ReportingAttorney to UCR Crime Rate Ratio

Anne Arundel537,6564611688
Baltimore City
Calvert 88,7371273951,742145
Cecil 101,1081191923,311301
Prince George’s863,42033,058#DIV/0!
Queen Anne’s47,7985961192
St. Mary’s105,15110105152,744274
Bottom line is that all of the agencies in our county are feeling the strain of this.  I am currently gathering other statistics to show how much stress this county is truly under and intend to present those at my budget hearing next month.  The entire county needs more resources to address this problem.  My fear is finding places where we can get that assistance.  I hope that your correspondence begins the dialog of how to attack this problem from many angles and get back to the standard of living that we all remember in this community.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you.



What is clear to see is our ranking overall in Allegany County compared to other counties, our comparison per capita to criminal cases filed in our county, and our attorneys assigned to our case load to handle the volume of cases as stated.

We will be fortunate to add attorneys dedicated to specific regions to our arsenal but need to pave a clear and precise case when requesting these funds as well as think creatively in ways in which we can raise additional funding and even transition funds in the budget to these areas, as we are of course in a very tight season, for years now, concerning the budget at every level, be it locally, state wide, or nationally.

These are a few current considerations that are true and surfacing through my research, communications and responses, and interviews and that is why I am sharing them here. This is not mere speculation.

Mr. Twigg's answer is very specific and from his point of view as a professional, it shares some very poignant information that is one very serious point we all need to address as we ask for funding and support moving forward. I will use no further words, as his response was more then sufficient to illustrate that there is a shortcoming of attorneys in our area.

In speaking with Jake Shade, he too assured me, in greater detail, that there is indeed some thought in planning that is going to be discussed very soon about certain jurisdictions, and I find it exciting to see we will be moving forward through not just the city of Cumberland, but throughout the county as well in areas of increased violent and drug related crime. I will report more specific details here as I am able to do so.

I have also had very candid conversation recently with Seth Bernard as well as (less recently through no fault of hers but me being short on time) Nicole Alt Myers.

What I can tell you is that everyone I have spoken with thus far, and the list is much larger, is ready to swiftly move forward and address these issues, however what I can state is that thus far we are in a preliminary and brainstorming stage, and more letters, thoughts, and ideas would be helpful, if they share substance that can contribute to the overall goal we are focusing on, which is crime prevention and better prosecution in our entire area.

I have been very fortunate to have an open line of communication to all of our local and several state officials in Maryland and highly respect that from them each. Many of these folks are my friends, some are acquaintances, and others I am just getting to know and vice-versa. What I can state is that they are responsive, understanding, and working hard for the constituents. We are fortunate to have bright, dedicated, motivated individuals that represent us, and they want to hear from us, the citizens, and I will again include a list of emails at the end of this update to my recent publication.

I urge you again, citizens of my readership and beyond, to be vocal locally where you reside, write letters to the editor,discuss this with family and friends, be it through church groups, fraternal organizations, work groups, and any outlet you may have at your disposal, and to write a short email or letter and send it to these officials. Simply state your concerns, your suggestions, and your observations and anything else that may be useful in a rather short and concise few paragraphs.

Be vigilant and always call the police department of your jurisdiction anytime you see anything that is suspicious to you. Know your surroundings, observe what is all around you all the time, and speak with you neighbors. Leave lights on at night, a great deterrent. Consider having a dog as they are vocal when a threat is near being that they are protective of their territory always. Consider home and car alarms. Only let close trusted friends and family be aware of your specific schedule. Leave a radio on loud when you are away. Do not share vacation specifics on public media. Participate and / or organize neighborhood watch groups. Report any threats you may receive and always report any crime, no matter how seemingly small, as these statistics, when compiled, show where our weaknesses are and what we need to even further address.

The authorities, be they politicians, law enforcement, or other agency officials, need to know what we are thinking moving forward, and then they can communicate with us what they are planning in response to what we share about our concerns, and those details are coming to fruition, as a plan ro combat this crime certainly will in short order too.

I only hope that this information is useful to us all and that we may all live in an even more peaceful locale while we further construct a course of action to make a more wholesome future for us all in our own pursuit of happiness.

We are all tired of criminals, revolving doors, recitivism, repeat offenders in the public that should already be behind bars, poor sentencing guidelines and/or sentencing that is just too short, judges that are often far too lenient, bails/bonds that are seeming not fitting to the allegations, ad infinitum.

If your focus is merely on the court system and sentencing, you are looking at only was small portion of the entire problem, and addressing it alone will have no real long term effect towards the overall goals of long term progress. We, locally and abroad, have too often been far to short sited and emotional at times when we need to be much more visionary and objective in order to correctly envision problems and solutions that will stand for the desired outcome we seek.We must develop and employ swiftly an efficient plan that is both proactive and reactive and addresses all of these facets as so mentioned.

I hope, again, you will each consider these aspects, re-reading this, and making notes along the way that are sparked by your individual passions, and get to work writing your letters to officials, the newspaper, sharing with friends, and family, etc., etc., etc. 

Thanks so very much for your time, and I am looking forward to making our homes and neighborhoods even safer then we can imagine today, but tit will be a long road to pave together and a lot of work, but we must continue on the road on which we have begun to travel together.

In closing this quote from Thomas Jefferson, I hope will inspire even greater contribution from us each, may the healing begin through this conversation we shall have.

    In Difficult Times
"The man who loves his country on its own account, and not merely for its trappings of interest or power, can never be divorced from it, can never refuse to come forward when he finds that she is engaged in dangers which he has the means of warding off." --Thomas Jefferson 

We indeed have those means at hand, and we indeed have a duty to collectively ward them off.


John S. Swygert

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Here are some recent links from The Cumberland Times News that may be worthwhile reading for you to, as they are indeed on this topic as well.

City officials blame drugs for recent high-profile crime spike

Police chief: Cumberland not alone in drug-related crime

'Mayor’s statement tops the list for reckless public rhetoric'


Judge denies bond reduction in home invasion, robbery

Disturbance In Streets Leads to Charges

Amanda Mangan
A Cumberland couple is behind bars charged with burglary Yesterday Cumberland Police Officers were called to Shades Lane for a reported Breaking and Entering.

Two Baltimore residents are arrested and charged with attempting to sell drugs following an attempted theft. Yesterday at about 2pm Cumberland Police Officers were called out to a Park Street business for a reported Theft


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