Sunday, March 09, 2014 11:52 PM
Police Chief Mark McGaw, Photo by Jim Davis
Published on: Wednesday, January 08, 2014
By Jim Davis, Special to The Sentinel
For many years crime has been an albatross for residents and officials working to enhance the growth and prosperity of the county. Now, there is good news concerning crime rates in Prince George’s County. On Jan. 2 state officials gathered to announce significant reductions in the county crime rate.
Police Chief Mark Magaw of Prince George’s County Police Department said homicides in the county dropped 38 percent and the county had the lowest number of homicides in a calendar year since 1986.
In 2012 there were 90 homicides, In 2013, only 56 homicides occurred resulting in a 13 percent Magaw said.
“While a 38 percent drop in homicides in three years is astounding, this police department is not yet satisfied and we are not done yet,” said Magaw. “We will continue working every day and night to keep our communities safe.”
Magaw also pointed out a 30 percent reduction in violent crimes, and a 27 percent reduction in total crimes over the past three year.
Governor Martin O’Malley was one of several officials attending the press conference at the Wegmans in Woodmore Town Centre in Landover. “ Prince George’s is a much safer place, Our success means lives saved, safer neighborhoods for families and safer communities for businesses to grow and create jobs” said O’Malley.
Most officials attributed the drop in the crime rate in Prince George’s County as the result of County’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI,) an effort by the County focusing on uplifting six neighborhoods in the County that face significant economic, health, public safety and educational challenges.
TNI was started in April 2012 and targets the East Riverdale/Bladensburg, Glassmanor/Oxon Hill, Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights, Langley Park, Kentland/Palmer Park and Suitland/Coral Hills areas.
In 2012, overall crime in the TNI areas decreased by 8.75 percent as compared to 2011. This year, crime in the TNI areas are down another 12.6 percent over last year’s reductions - a 50 percent improvement in the rate of reduction.
“We are working tirelessly to keep crime down in this County and improve communities and we are doing it by focusing on people and neighborhoods,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “Today we are here to tell the region and the state that Prince George’s County is a safe place to live, invest, work and visit.”
Sharing information on these neighborhoods with police helps them understand what is needed in those areas and how to respond appropriately, Baker said
“We want to send a message to people that violence in our community is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said Prince George’s State’s Attorney Angela S. Alsobrooks.
“The progress we have made over the last three years is the type of results our citizens deserve and these gains are sustainable because of the strategies we have in place and the great teamwork we enjoy.”
According to Lt. William Alexander, spokesperson for the county police “The county hired about 100 more police officers last year which was a big help, having 100 more officers on the street has help the county in its effect in reducing crime in the county” said Alexander.
The county has plans to hire another 100 new officers this year said Alexander.