Saturday, May 18, 2013 1:57 AM
Photo by Jim Davis. Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw announces overall crime is down 7.6 percent in the county during a press conference last Wednesday at police headquarters in Landover. Homicides declined 35.5 percent.
Published on: Friday, December 21, 2012
By Jim Davis
Crime in Prince George’s County is down for the first time in many years, said Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw.
At a press conference Wednesday at police headquarters, County Executive Rushern Baker joined Magaw and other federal, state and county dignitaries to report crime in Prince George’s County is down 7.6 percent, which equates to roughly 2,200 fewer crimes this year compared with last year at the same time.
Since 1992, the countywide crime trend has seen significant peaks and fluctuating valleys, according to Magaw.
In 2012, crime declined in the following areas: overall violent crime, down 7.6 percent; overall property crime, 7.1 percent; overall total crime, 7.1 percent or about 2,240 incidents; homicides, 35.5 percent; robberies, 8.5 percent; burglaries, 19 percent; stolen cars, 14.9 percent; and non-fatal shootings, 12 percent.
Fatal motor vehicle crashes are also down 29 percent, and fatal pedestrian crashes are down 14 percent.
“We can’t put handcuffs on crime and make it go away. What we can do, however, is commit all government agencies to partner with the police department to enhance public safety,” Magaw said.
Last year, Prince George’s County had 3,800 victims of crime. This year, the county had 3,200 crime victims, which is a drop of 600 victims, said Magaw.
Prince George’s County officials believe one of the main reasons for the drop in crime is because agencies within Prince George’s County are working together. The collaboration among agencies is part of an initiative, backed by Baker, called the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative.
Under the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative, the county has shut down night clubs plagued by criminal activity and razed vacant property, such as the dozen vacant apartment buildings on Nova Avenue in District Heights. It also added more patrol units in the Oxon Hill, Langley Park, Suitland and other areas targeted with high crime rates. Officials said boosting police presence has helped to push crime down.
“Thanks to County Executive Baker’s leadership and the hard work of county, state, and local law enforcement, we’ve continued to make significant progress in building a stronger, safer Prince George’s County,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. “But our work is far from over, and I look forward to continuing our efforts until all of our communities — in Prince George’s County and throughout Maryland — are safe and strong.”
State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks said, “It has taken a collaborative effort to achieve this level of crime reduction. I want to thank County Executive Baker, Chief Magaw, Sheriff (Melvin) High and the entire Prince George’s County law enforcement community for their commitment to ensuring the safety of our citizens.”
The Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative is a holistic approach to uplifting communities through the coordination of social services, anti-crime programs and job creation.
“All people across our great county want the same things, and the best way to yield better results is through innovative strategies and open communication,” Baker said. “It is evident that early signs of TNI’s impact are a correlated factor in the county’s reduction in crime.”
All six TNI areas — Langley Park, East Riverdale/Bladensburg, Palmer Park/Kentland, Suitland, Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights and Glassmanor/Oxon Hill — encompassed an 11.5 percent drop in violent crime, a 7 percent decline in property crime and an overall crime rate decrease of 8.75 percent.
Also at the press conference, Magaw said, “Homicide detectives soon will be making an arrest in the shootings of Amber Stanley and Markel Ross. We have information that will allow us to issue arrest warrants for the suspects involved in the two shootings.”