Crime continues to rise in Allegany County based a recent Baltimore Sun newspaper article. Twenty-one of twenty four counties in Maryland have seen a decrease in crime since 1975; unfortunately, Allegany County isn't one of them. We are experiencing a 10% increase over last year in the overall crime rate.
Our major issue is property crime to support the ever increasing drug problem that has found its way to Western Maryland. In addition, Maryland has a much more generous offering of welfare-related entitlements than surrounding states and it is much easier access to such entitlements here as opposed to other parts of the State. Add to that, three prisons in Allegany County, (two State Prisons and one Federal Prison) with friends and family members following the prisoners to the region, again with easier access to benefits, we are seeing an increase in overall crime. Prison officials have challenged such thinking in the past and I was on board with that thinking. Not anymore. We are seeing an influx of urban criminals who are committing pretty violent crimes. It is too much for a coincidence. We also have a struggling economy in Western Maryland adding to the problem. Do I still feel safe living in Western Maryland? I do, but I find myself taking more precautions than ever before.