The question is:
With PG's murder count many times that of Montgomery county, what's the answer?and the three possible answers are:
I found the question, and especially the three possible answers given, to be so simplistic as to be insulting to anybody who really thinks about the problems facing us in Prince George's County.
- The high PG murder rate is simply a reflection of lower average income.
- The high PG murder rate is a symptom of poor police performance.
- The high PG murder rate is a symptom of its demographics, unemployment rate and smaller tax base to support policing.
"The high PG murder rate is simply a reflection of lower average income."
The average income may be lower than for some surrounding suburbs, but Prince George's County's average annual income is much higher than that of many of the crime-free communities throughout the country.
"The high PG murder rate is a symptom of poor police performance."
Police performance may be a minor contributing factor, but this answer would have been much better if it referred to the performance of the entire criminal justice system in the county.
Even when our police solve crimes and make arrests, prosecutors have not been effective in obtaining convictions that take criminals off the street and prevent more crime.
The States Attorneys' office, both under Ivey and earlier under Johnson, is too willing to drop charges, make deals, and put violent criminals back on the street. Ivey has a record of prosecuting citizens who try to protect themselves from violent criminals, and like his presecessor, prosecuting police officers.
Ivey's most recent police victim was acquitted by a jury, but that's not good enough for Ivey, he's looking for some loophole so that he can get away with putting the officer in double jeopardy.
The judicial system in Maryland is very much more pro-criminal and anti-victim than in Virginia.
- Just the other day, appeals court judges threw out the second conviction of a brutal killer
- Not many months ago, a PG magistrate refused a protective order to a very scared woman; she was murdered within hours.
- And in the past few days, the Examiner has highlighted Maryland judgeThompson, who exemplifies the very worst of the mentality of the Maryland judiciary.
The problem is not with the police alone, but with the whole criminal justice system.
"The high PG murder rate is a symptom of its demographics, unemployment rate and smaller tax base to support policing."
Many communities across the US with similar income and employment demographics have much lower crime rates.
"Smaller tax base"? Bull! Prince George's County residents suffer just about the highest tax burden in the region or in the state.
What does it get them?
- Poor school performance,
- Hundreds of high-paid school administrators, some with serious ethics and criminal problems,
- Rotting school buildings,
- Constant construction and leasing of quality buildings for bureaucrats and judges, and
- Glossy, expensive brochures about how the County Executive is making our communities "liveable." Try selling that idea to the families of the murder victims and the 50 per day victims of car theft in the county.
Only the Post and Gazette have made a long-term effort to report all Prince George's County homicides, and those two papers don't always succeed. The recent reporting of the Examiner shows promise, but they don't yet have much of a track record.
Looking at the broadcast media, WRC-4 and WJLA-7 tend to report something on the majority of county homicides, but often only an Associated Press version of a county press release. Followup is rare.
Coverage by WTOP, WTTG-5, WUSA-9, and the Times is poor, with skimpy inital reports in a minority of cases, and followup stories are all but nonexistent.
None of these outlets regularly report the information the public would need to follow a case through to arrest (if any) and conviction.
The Post, Gazette, and Examiner all have identifiable staff writers who can provide a sense of contect and continuity to homicide coverage, but they are not in charge and their beats do not seem to cover all aspects of the criminal justice system and it's effect on the homicide rate.
The lack of complete media coverage makes it impossible to really assess how the system is doing and where the failures are.
So far, the opinion pages of the Examiner have shown that there is some willingness to think independently and not repeat the same conventional wisdom--left or right--seen in the other local papers. Hopefully they will start thinking out of the box about Prince George's many problems rather than just repeating the thoughts pushed by the county's all-Democrat government that would like to keep us all from thinking seriously about their abysmal failure to protect and educate us.