Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Chief Malik Aziz on Tuesday touted success in the fight against violent crime around the county, and detailed the work being done to make sure crime doesn’t rise during the summer, as it traditionally does.
At a news conference at police headquarters, Aziz said murders in the county were down around 30% from this time last year. Meanwhile, he said, 828 guns have been recovered, up from 660 at this time in 2021, and gun-related arrests are up 20% from last year.
Carjackings are also up, but Aziz said even that crime is showing steady declines, since a huge number of cars were taken back in January. He also said more of those crimes are leading to arrests.
The summer crime initiative, Aziz said, “will center around reducing violent crime involving firearms,” with focus areas including Langley Park and Lewisdale, Greenbelt and Good Luck, Dodge Park, Branch, and Naylor, Clinton Plaza, Calverton, Old Fort, Hilmar and Walters Lane and areas along the D.C. border.
Increased daily patrols will only be a part of it. “We identify the subfocus areas” with real time data, Aziz said; “We have a very robust joint analysis intelligence center who feeds us some stats about where we need to be, if we’re seeing trends or patterns.”
But simply throwing more cops in places where they’re needed is only the “very basics,” the chief said.
“Our community engagement teams county-wide will focus extensively on engaging with the residents through community events, community walks and crime prevention,” said Aziz.
He said police will be at events around the county this summer, ranging from standard community meetings to youth sports activities ranging from baseball to basketball to even lacrosse and soccer.
“That doesn’t look like crime prevention or crime reduction but yet it is,” Aziz said. “They’re not traditional. They don’t look like our normal ‘I’ll go out and we’ll press a community very hard and put a lot of police in the community in order to drive crime down.’”
“What we did is to blossom our thinking,” he added — “to move our thinking to a more holistic approach to work with all of the other partners in the system and to provide everyone of our resources at hand to the community at which we’re serving.”
Photo: Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (WTOP/John Domen)