CHEVERLY, Md. (WDVM) — Prince George’s County is dealing with a high number of crime. In 2021, there were 130 homicides, the highest in 15 years. There were also nearly 400 carjackings, triple the number three years ago.
County council members say they’re disappointed, but they’re hoping for some change — former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker introduced a statewide initiative to tackle the uptick in crime all across Maryland.
This comes just nearly two weeks after a 22-year-old man was shot and killed by two teens at The Mall at Prince George’s. County council members say enough is enough and they’re looking at a new strategy to tackle this.
“As a father, you know, someone who loves Prince George’s county, (this uptick) hurts, and it’s personal,” said Mel Franklin, Prince George’s County Council Member at Large.
“We’ve got no choice. It’s not going to get better by ignoring it. We have to be solutions-minded, proactive in taking it head-on and that’s what while we’re here today,” said Franklin.
On Wednesday, Baker — who is now a gubernatorial candidate in Maryland — introduced an initiative called Transforming Neighborhoods, something he did during his time as county executive for Prince George’s County.
“We focus on areas that had high incidence of crime, dropout rates and health disparities and economic development back in those communities. In over an eight-year period, we actually turn those neighborhoods around. I think we can do the same thing throughout this great state,” said Baker.
Now he wants to use that same strategy for the entire state of Maryland.
The initiative focuses on using state resources to train and hire more officers, invest in health care in neighborhoods, economic development by creating more jobs and more.
“We just need to take them, apply them to the state and identify the areas that have been neglected and left behind the way we did it with the transforming neighborhoods initiative,” said Franklin.
With crime rising not just in Prince George’s County but throughout the entire state, how can the “Transforming Neighborhoods” strategy be used now?
“Take some of the money we’re going to get from the federal government, it’s only one-time money, take that in and invest in these areas. Now, today. I’m not asking them to wait until Rushern Baker, Nancy Navarro, governor and lieutenant governor. I’m saying these things need to happen now,” said Baker.
Angela Alsobrooks, THE current Prince George’s County Executive, is working on her own initiative the Hope In Action Anti-Violence Project Fund, which will provide grants to several non-profits that focus on reducing violence in communities.