Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:53 AM
Published on: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
By Tauren Dyson
State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County Angela Alsobrooks joined the District IV Community Coffee Roundtable at the Clarion Hotel in Oxon Hill last Thursday.
Her message touted a sharp decline in violent crime, including a 30 percent decrease in homicides, last year in Prince George’s. But she warned the more than 40 people in attendance to stay vigilant against crime in their community.
“Because of the work that’s being done here by the police department, the state’s attorney, Prince George’s County is leading the state in terms of (crime) reductions,” Alsobrooks said.
Alsobrooks commended the residents in the audience for their commitment to improving their communities, applauding the fact they attended a 10 a.m. meeting. She also thanks everyone for their diligence in the monitoring their neighborhoods to help keep crime away.
“Every time I see the governor, he can quote for me what our crime statistics are,” Alsobrooks said. “The reason for that is our numbers are driving down the state numbers.”
Prince George’s Transforming Neighborhood Initiative, which increased police patrols in designated crime hot spots, is a big cause for such low numbers, county officials said. The program focuses on the Langley Park, Oxon Hill, East Riverdale, Hillcrest Heights, Suitland and Palmer Park communities. Within those areas, crimes fell by more than 11 percent and property crimes dropped by more than 7 percent — contributing to nearly 9 percent reduction in overall crime in those areas. Along with record low homicide numbers, overall crime in the county dropped by seven percent in 2012.
Civic leaders and law enforcement officials attributed the drop in crime, in part, to community gatherings that stress neighborhood vigilance.
“District 4 has more single family homes, more so than other places that have more apartments,” said Angela Holmes, District IV Community Coffee Roundtable leader. “So that’s why we’ve got more break-in and entering.”
Holmes said with the prevalence of break-in and entering crimes, the citizens took action and became more proactive in curtailing crime in the area.
“We’re now engaging those who are retired, and those who work at home, so now the B and E’s have begun to dissipate,” Holmes said.
Charles French, a Fort Washington resident, is a retired D.C. police officer and understands the importance of maintaining a pipeline of communication with police in Prince George’s. He said he is constantly looking out of his window, taking the tag numbers of unfamiliar cars, and questioning suspicious strangers in his neighborhood.
“We’re watching our community; we’re taking information back on how to prevent crime; we’re are more familiar with our police department,” he said.