Threatening apartment owners. Repeating threats he made in the most recent of a series of ineffective and largely unimplemented crime-fighting plans (Jan. 26, Jan. 25, Jan. 14, Jan. 10, etc.), Johnson threatened to harass the owners and shut down the 22 developments. According to reports of this publicity event by Sudarsan Raghavan in the March 15 Post, and by Robert Arkell in the March 15 Examiner, apartment owners were taken by surprise, receiving little or no advance notice from Johnson's office. One apartment manager complained that requests by apartment owners to meet with Johnson have not been successful.
Misleading information. From Johnson's press release about the event:
Johnson used the Glenarden Apartments as a prime example. Five of the 33 homicides this year have occurred within a one-mile radius of those apartments.Unfortunately, that statement does not appear to be quite true. Measuring from the approximate center of the Glenarden development, there has been only one homicide well within a one-mile radius, that of Linda Teresa Humphries, about 0.27 of a mile away.
Three other homicides occurred between about 0.84 and 1.02 miles of the development's center; to be fair, each may have happened within one mile of some corner of the development: Michael Edward Montgomery, Darnell Anthony Wright, and Carlos Leon Taylor.
The next closes homicide, presumably the fifth counted by Johnson, was that of Kerry Antonio Bennett, about 1.87 miles from the center of the apartments.
Both Bennett and Humphries were killed in their homes, away from the apartment development. Humphries was the victim of a domestic killing. It is difficult to see how proximity to the Glenarden Apartments could have had anything at all to do with these murders.
Looking at the homicide data from a slighly different perspective, there have been even more homicides within the same distance of police headquarters in Palmer Park (about a mile from the Glenarden Apartments).
- Darnell Anthony Wright (0.21)
- Michael Montgomery (0.22)
- Kerry Antonio Bennett (0.99)
- Carlos Leon Taylor (1.05)
- Linda Teresa Humphries (1.25)
- Elliott Lamar Hebb (1.43)
Little correlation between murders and targeted apartments. The March 15 Post has a map of the 22 apartment developments threatened by Johnson. Laying those locations over a map of 2005 homicides shows that thre is very little correlation. While the developments cited by Johnson may account for many crime reports, they are not located in the homicide hot-spots.
Where will the people go? Prince George's County has an affordable-housing crisis. Johnson is threatening to close down apartment developments with relatively low rents and thousands of low- and moderate-income minority residents. Where will they go? It is very unlikely that the existing county housing stock can accommodate them. County policies for the past several years have sharply discouraged any development of housing, especially low-cost housing. What little new construction has been allowed is slow, mired in excessive red-tape, with new taxes and fees planned, and is far, far beyond the means of most residents of the 22 developments threatened by Johnson.
So, where will the people go? Johnson's press release is silent on the issue. According to press reports, Del. Joanne C. Benson (D-24), says the county will take care of the residents and "not put them on the street." But Benson doesn't provide any specifics and since she is a state, not county, official, there is no way she can either deliver on such a claim or be held accountable if her claim turns out to be untrue.
Both Johnson and Benson are Black Democrats so the press is apparently giving them a pass on the havoc Johnson's plan could wreak in Prince George's County's lower-income African-American community. Were they white Republicans, they would probably be accused of gentrification, if not of conspiring to drive undesireables (minorities) out of the county.
List of 2005 homicides.
Map of 2005 homicides.
Map of 2005 homicides compared to targeted apartments.
Post map of targeted apartments.