Thursday, April 24, 2014 8:01 PM
Published on: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By Jim Davis, Special to The Sentinel
Crime in Prince George’s County is down. Officials shared the news at a press conference on Oct.16 in front of the Hyattsville Court House. County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Prince George 's County Police Department, Sheriff's Department and other county agencies unveiled a plan to take a team approach to provide residents with resources to aid them in crisis. Decreasing the instances of domestic violence in the county is a top priority.
"Today we can and will reduce domestic violence in the county,” said Prince George's Police Chief Mark Magaw. We have centralized the domestic violence unit and have dedicated a team of 15 specially trained investigators to focus specifically on domestic violence.” Magaw said so far this year 20 percent of the homicides have been domestic-violence related.
Last year, the county had nine homicides that were linked to domestic violence in the home said Angela D. Alsobrooks, Prince George 's County State 's Attorney.
"The whole idea is to attack the violence in the household,” said Lt. Charmaine Harvin, the county police domestic violence unit commander.
A new 2-1-1 hotline has been established to connect domestic violence victims to services such as shelter, food and other needs, as part of the county’s “Stop the Silence” campaign. The campaign began as part of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Tim Jansen, executive director for Prince George's County Community Crisis Services touted benefits of the service. "2-1-1 is a service where folks can reach out and get information about a certain situation, talk to a supportive listener that's trained in how to talk to them to provide community resources,'' he said.
County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said raising awareness about this 2-1-1 hotline helps families know where to seek aid before domestic violence escalates into greater issues such as homicide or severe attacks like the high profile 2005 case involving the burning of Yvette Cade of Suitland at the hands of her husband. Cade was at work , when her husband came into her place of business, doused her in gasoline and set her on fire.
“This is a religious issue. A family issue. A moral issue," said County Executive Rushern L. Baker III “That’s what this is about,”
In 2012, 13,046 incidents of domestic violence were recorded in Prince George ’s and as of Oct. 10, 8,681 incidents had been recorded, according to Lt. William Alexander of Prince George 's County Police Department media relations division. He told the Sentinel, year to date overall crime is down 11.8 percent and violent crime is down 15.4 percent"
Compared with 2013, Alexander also stated that violent crime is down 15 percent from 2010.
From 2010-11 crime was down overall 10.6 percent and 2011-12 crime is down 7.3 per cent overall and violent crime is down 8.6 percent.
Homicides are also down noted Alexander. In 2012, there were 64 homicides in the county and as of Oct.18 this year there were only 44 homicides. In about 75 percent of those homicides, an arrest has been made and the case has been closed.
There is no one reason why crime is down in the county said Alexander. “Our officers are working hard every day. We have new programs in place.” One of these programs is the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI). The goal of the initiative is to improve the quality of life through a thriving economy, great schools, safe neighborhoods and high quality healthcare as well as increasing police patrol in the Oxon Hill, Suitland , Bladensburg, Langley Park as well of other parts of the county.