The Washington Post
PALMER PARK, Md. (AP) -- Prince George's County police have stepped
up patrols of the county's most dangerous streets after a string of
murders that left nine people dead in six days.
Undercover officers will be placed in high crime areas and overtime
hours will be assigned to try to stem the recent spate of killings,
according to Deputy Chief Jeffrey Cox.
More officers will be on the street working on routine tasks such as
traffic and criminal enforcement, he said. That way, more officers
will be in place to respond right away to incidents.
"We're going to try to increase our proactive policing," Cox, head of
the department's patrol division, told The Washington Post Wednesday.
Additional officers will be posted in areas with heavy drug trade,
Cox said, noting that some of the recent murders appear to be
drug-related. Officers also will be assigned to areas outside
nightclubs that have been scenes of recent violence.
In the most recent murders, a man and woman were killed at 11:15 p.m.
Tuesday night while sitting on the front steps of a Seat Pleasant
apartment building. No arrests had been made in the case as of
The other seven murders took place in areas such as College Park and
Glenarden. Late Monday a man was fatally shot in Forestville.
Police union president Percy Alston said the overtime assignments
were welcome but that a major problem is a shortage in the
rank-and-file. About 450 officers, or 39 percent of the force,
already respond to about 2,000 service calls every day, Alston said.
"When you're only responding to calls for service and only doing
reactive law enforcement, then your ability to prevent crimes is
severely hampered," Alston said.
However, Cox said he was optimistic that the cases will be closed and
that the homicide rate will soon fall. Investigators are already
working hard to close the cases and prevent future homicides, he said.
"We don't want to give the impression that crime is out of control in
Prince George's and that police aren't making headway," he said.