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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Gory Prince George's: 2005 year-end summary reports

(Updated 2 Jan 2006)

Note: Many outlets are reporting a total 169 homicides in 2005. The Post is reporting a total of 173, but did not report on that many individual homicides as they happened during the course of the year--only about 157 give or take a couple, by my count. They even missed the first murder of the year. The Gazette has reported about as many as the Post, other local news outlets are way behind and have been slipping even more in recent months.

"D.C. Area Slayings Climbed In 2005; Pr. George's Set Record; District at 20-Year Low"
Post, 2 Jan 2006 (by Allison Klein and Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post Staff Writers)
The Washington region saw a rise in bloodshed in 2005, largely fueled by a spike in slayings in the D.C. suburbs, most dramatically in Prince George's County.
[. . .]
At the same time, the total in Prince George's climbed from 148 to 173, a grim record for the county. The Washington Post's analysis of homicide figures combines statistics from municipal and county police departments within the boundaries of a county.
[. . .]
Gangs' Reach Grows

As happened elsewhere in the country, gangs, especially Mara Salvatrucha, expanded their presence in the Washington area and were linked to several high-profile crimes, including two attacks in August in Montgomery, which left six teens wounded and led to a dozen arrests.

Later that month, 19 alleged MS-13 members were indicted on federal racketeering charges in six killings and four attempted killings in suburban Maryland in 2003. One of the incidents was in Montgomery, the rest in Prince George's.
[Full story]
"Va., Md. Suburbs See Spike in Homicides"
wtopnews.com, 30 Dec 2005 (by Derrill Holly, AP Writer)
Other reports, apparently based on the same AP story:
wavy.com, 30 Dec 2005
wjla.com, 30 Dec 2005

"Record year for homicides in Prince George's County"
Examiner, 30 Dec 2005 (by Karl B. Hille, Examiner Staff Writer)
. . . The number of homicides reported in the county took off early in January and had hit 170 as of Dec. 29, surpassing the 1991 record of 154 slayings. With nearly one death every other day, county leaders scrambled for an explanation.

County Executive Jack Johnson initially called it an aberration, but when the bodies kept coming in, he announced a series of law enforcement initiatives that ranged from violent crime task forces to targeting high-crime apartment complexes across the county for cleanup.

Chief of Police Melvin C. High infuriated rank-and-file troops in July when he accused them of sandbagging and promised to look closely at the performance records of individual officers.

This week he backed off that assessment.
[. . .]
  • 14,260 car thefts reported to county police, down about 8.3 percent from the same period in 2004
  • 3,350 robberies, up 24.1 percent from 2004
  • 4,193 assaults, up 1.2 percent from 2004
  • 6,103 burglaries, down 4.5 percent from 2004
[Full story]
"Country ends year with more homicides than 2004"
Gazette, 29 Dec 2005 (by Guy Leonard, Staff Writer)
Prince George’s County is ending 2005 with at least 168 homicides, a full 20 victims more than last year by the same date.

The homicide tally means that 2005 will go down as the bloodiest year in the county’s history.
[. . .]
Police officials have said in previous stories published by The Gazette that social ills, drugs, guns and an understaffed police force have probably contributed to the rise in homicides this year.

In 2001 there were 117 killings. In 2002 there were 137, and in 2003 they dropped to 128. The previous record was set in 1991 when there were 154 killings.

This year marked the first year the county started tracking homicides with regard to type of killing, the weapon used and contributing circumstances, such as drugs.
[Full story]
"Safety issues dominate county agenda for 2005"
Gazette, 29 Dec 2005 (by Tiesha Higgins, Staff Writer)
. . . County law enforcement was part of a sting operation that led to the indictment of 19 alleged members of the La Mara Salvatrucha gang known as MS-13, in the first Maryland indictment under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute.

The group was charged with kidnapping, robbery and six murders—five of which occurred in Prince George’s County. . . . [Full story]

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