Carjackings are down, violent crime is up in Prince George’s Co., police chief says

Stepped up enforcement and community engagement are how police say they’ll be fighting crime this summer in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Police plan to focus their efforts in small, concise areas around the county where crime tends to proliferate, and if criminal activity shifts, police assets will shift with it.

“Just recently in May and June, we implemented the 12-hour work shift, which put more people out on the street,” said Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz. “Since we have 350 officers down from what we are allotted, then we made a challenging, difficult decision. The regular 10-hour shifts call for 20% more people. … And it seems, at this point, to be working well as we work through the challenges.”

But it’s not all enforcement. Aziz said the county has programs and resources intended to prevent crime.

“We’re talking engagement in the community policing philosophy. We’re making an earnest attempt to engage with our youth. We have many summer youth programs going,” he said.

The chief pointed to the latest crime data from the county that shows police are making progress against crime.

“We’re already a month into our crime fighting strategies … we have an overall total crime reduction. Crime is down in Prince George’s County. We hear people and they don’t hear the police chief say what the numbers are. So total crime is down in Prince George’s County,” said Aziz.

The police department’s Daily Crime Report for Tuesday, July 9, showed that total crime is down 9% compared to this same period last year.

The 201 carjackings so far this year are also a 14% decrease from the same time last year. The number of homicides are down slightly and property crime is down 14%.

While violent crime is up 12%, Aziz said it has been driven by big jumps in the number of simple assaults without a weapon — up 30% — and domestic violent assaults without a weapon — up 36%.

“Total crime is down, but violent crime is up. So the violent crime categories that are drivers are no-weapons assaults. … If those two crimes have become the drivers of violent crime in Prince George’s County this year, and all those other categories are down, I think we are fortunate to be making progress,” said Aziz. “But there’s work to do.”

Like other police departments in the D.C. region, the Prince George’s County Police Department is currently understaffed and trying to increase recruitment.

“We’re hiring, come join us. You want to be part of the solution. … I want people to know that we’re more than an enforcement organization. We are looking at prevention. We’re looking at community policing and engagement. … Overall, total crime is down in Prince George’s County and we’re working to make sure crime is down across all categories,” said Aziz.

“In order to do that, we need to have a real police-community relationship, a 50/50 partnership that we believe that we’re family, and we’re all in this together,” he added.

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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