Maryland's Violent Crime Rate Now Second Highest, Under Dems

By Michael L. Betsch | July 7, 2008 | 8:20 PM EDT

( - Under the Democratic leadership of Gov. Parris Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the State of Maryland has notched the second highest violent crime rate in the nation according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report for 2001.

According to the FBI report, there were 783 violent criminal acts committed per every 100,000 citizens in Maryland during the course of the 2001 calendar year. Florida topped the category with 797.2 per 100,000.

Since Glendening and Townsend, who assumed the role of crime czar, took office in 1995, Maryland's violent crime ranking has jumped ahead of six states to achieve its current standing.

Maryland also now has the nation's fifth highest murder rate, compared to the number eight ranking it had in 1995 and has taken over the top slot in the robbery category. The state was second in robberies seven years ago.

"This FBI data is a scathing indictment of Maryland's leadership," said Edward Patrick, president of Maryland Citizens Defense League (MCDL), a group dedicated to protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of the state's citizens.

"Townsend continues to compare Maryland of today to Maryland of yesterday," Patrick said. "But no one in the press has bothered comparing Maryland to her 49 sister states that are doing it better."

Numbers Game

According to Townsend's interpretation of the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, "Serious crime in Maryland dropped by 23-percent from 1995 to 2000."

Townsend cited a "20-percent drop in the rate of violent crime," but did not mention that other states reduced their crime by even larger percentages during a period in which crime nationally was way down. She also did not mention Maryland's entrance into the top five regarding murder rates, focusing instead on a "30-percent drop in homicide rates."

While the FBI report exhibits that Maryland had the highest robbery rate in the nation for 2001, Townsend has highlighted the state's "38-percent drop in robbery rates."

Most recently, Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich launched a television attack advertisement against Townsend, focusing on the administration's inability to enforce the same gun control laws it favors.

"This year, Glendening-Townsend failed to perform routine background checks required by law and they allowed hundreds of criminals to purchase guns illegally," the ad states.

Ehrlich's ad refers to the nearly six-month period in which the Maryland State Archives refused to provide the FBI with criminal backgrounds of Maryland gun buyers arrested before 1982. State officials estimate that the lapse may have resulted in as many as 500 gun buyers with arrest records not being screened. It is estimated that 25 of those people had been convicted of a crime.

Townsend has denied any responsibility for Maryland's temporary lapse of gun checks, claiming she does not oversee the Maryland State Archives, which provide the criminal records.

Felon-Friendly State?

"Basically, the climate in Maryland is more favorable toward the felonious predator than in any state in the U.S," Patrick said.

He expressed frustration at the state legislature's reluctance to pass a bill that would prevent criminals from seeking compensation for injuries sustained while in the act of committing a violent crime. Under Maryland's current law, he said, any law-abiding citizen acting in defense of their home, family or business can be sued if they injure or kill a "criminal predator."

Patrick opposes legislation signed into law by Glendening that restores the voting rights of twice-convicted felons. Today, those felons can apply for restoration of their right to vote three years after their release from prison, he said.

Maryland already allows anyone convicted of one felony to vote upon completion of their prison term and parole.

Patrick predicts that such legal protections and privileges will remain unchallenged unless the voters of Maryland decide to "change" the state legislature and the administration's attitude toward violent criminals.

However, he said, "As a 501(c) 4 organization, we can't tell people to vote one way or the other. All we can do is educate them on the issues."

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