All over Prince George's County, crime is plummeting. Homicides are down 35 percent from last year, dropping from 93 murders in 2011 to just 60 in 2012.
Burglaries are also down almost 20 percent from last year, and violent crime has dropped by 7.6 percent. Overall, crime is down 7.6 percent, which equates to roughly 2,200 fewer crimes this year compared with last year at the same time.
It's because for the first time ever, Prince George's County government agencies are working together. It's part of a vigorous initiative by county executive Rushern Baker called the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative. Earlier this year he commended the impact the program has made.
“Things are going to change for the better. This is a great county,” Baker said.
Assistant police chief Kevin Davis says programs such as razing vacant property, shutting down night clubs plagued by criminal activity and boosting police presence help push crime down.
Davis says crime is simply a by-product of other social problems.
“If we just look at other crime in and of itself and don't look at the factors that contribute to crime, again, homeless, unemployment, then we are merely treading water and running in place,” Davis says.
He adds police are actively going after smaller crimes, such as vandalism, in hopes of stopping offenders from escalating to more dangerous crimes.
Tyrell Hyatte of Prince George’s County says the drop in crime is welcome news.
“As a young black man about to raise my own daughter, it is a relief because it shows me my daughter will be safe,” he says.
Now, police say the challenge is keeping the momentum going. In the coming year, police plan to work more actively with federal agencies such as ATF and the FBI because those agencies have had a strong presence in the county in the past.
Prince George’s County police and Baker plan to hold a press conference Wednesday morning to officially announce the historic lows.