Baltimore County Council Moves To Strengthen Police Resources Amid Soaring Car Theft Rates
BALTIMORE COUNTY - Amid an alarming surge in car thefts, the Baltimore County Council has introduced legislation to bolster resources for the police department.
The move comes after Police Chief Robert McCullough reported on Monday that car thefts have increased by a staggering 175% this year compared to last year. The rise in juvenile involvement is also concerning, with police statistics showing a 508% increase in the number of juveniles arrested for stealing cars compared to last year.
"Some people are having their cars stolen multiple times," McCullough said during the council session.
Chief McCullough also expressed frustration over Maryland's new juvenile reform laws, which prevent any car thief under the age of 13 from being criminally charged.
"They are choosing kids under age 13 to be the drivers, so we have 11-year-olds with no license, no training, driving these stolen cars at high rates of speed," he added.
In response to the crisis, the County Council introduced Bill No. 56-23 at Monday's legislative session. The proposed legislation seeks to allocate $78,000 to the Baltimore County Police Department from the Gifts and Grants Special Revenue Fund, a fund made possible through an award from the State of Maryland's Vehicle Theft Prevention Council.
The appropriated funds are designated for purchasing emergency light kits for grant vehicles, laptop computers for Street Operations, license plate readers, and ballistic vests.
The Gifts and Grants Special Revenue Fund, set up to handle monetary gifts and grants for specific county purposes, will manage these appropriations and expenditures throughout the grant period, extending beyond the current fiscal year if needed.
If passed, the bill is slated to become effective on October 15, 2023.