The Anne Arundel County government will train about 600 county employes as volunteers in a crime-watch program designed to reduce thefts and vandalism in neighborhoods and business districts, County Executive James Lighthizer announced today.

The program, "Arundel Watch," will utilize workers, such as road crews, utility workers and inspectors, whose jobs put them in the community. County police will train them on what to look for and how to use two-way radios to report suspicious acts or crimes they encounter in their jobs, Lighthizer said.

The employes will be trained to watch for all crimes, but thefts and vandalism probably will get the most attention, police chief William S. Lindsey said.

Major crime (such as murder, rape, robbery and theft) in the county decreased 11.9 percent in the first six months of this year.

"Arundel Watch," conceived by Lighthizer in one of his campaign position papers last year, is an expansion of the neighborhood watch programs where citizen patrols complement police patrols.

The District of Columbia has operated a similar program, called "In Fact," for 2 1/2 years. That program uses 1,285 trained employes and elected officials. Through July of this year, 777 crimes and emergencies were reported under that program, or an average of 26 a month.